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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Roof Strength Standards for Light Vehicles

U.S. DOT Doubles Standard and Announces First Ever Standards for Heavier Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced tough, new roof standards that will significantly strengthen vehicle roof structures and improve rollover crash protection.

"Rollovers are the deadliest crashes on our highways and today's rule will help occupants survive these horrific events," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's new regulations will double the current roof strength standard for light vehicles weighing less than 6,000 pounds. Both the driver and passenger sides of the roof must be able of withstanding a force equal to three times the weight of the vehicle.

This new standard replaces the current requirement, which calls for roofs to withstand 1.5 times the weight of the vehicle, applied to one side of the roof, for light vehicles up to 6,000 pounds.

Heavier vehicles from 6,000 to 10,000 pounds, which have never been regulated, are now required to have both sides of the roof capable of withstanding a force equal to 1.5 times the weight of the vehicle.

The new schedule begins in September 2012, and will be completely phased in for all such vehicles by the 2017 model year.

Secretary LaHood also reminded U.S. drivers that wearing a safety belt will considerably improve their chances of survival in a rollover crash. Seat belts keep people in their seats and can prevent a person in a rollover crash from being ejected.

"These new standards go a long way toward reducing deaths," he said, "but safety belts are the first, most important step everyone should take to protecting themselves and their families."

The more stringent roof crush standards are part of a comprehensive plan to tackle rollover crashes, which kill about 10,000 people annually. Included in the new approach is a mandated electronic stability control system, which helps prevent the rollover from taking place.

The final rule can be read here.

Did you know that courses are available to educate drivers on the rules of the road and the latest defensive driving techniques? Try one now!

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