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New NHTSA Roof Crush Standards Will Save Lives, Reduce Accident-Related Injuries

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will soon have a new standard that promises to reduce injuries caused in car and light truck accidents.

The new standard will require the roofs of these vehicles to be able to withstand three times the curb weight of the vehicle. The old standard required the roof to withstand pressure that was only one and a half times the curb weight. That’s not the only change auto safety advocates and Atlanta car accident lawyers are happy about. The earlier standard placed a limit on the pressure applied to a vehicle during testing at 5,000 pounds. The new standard will no longer have that limit. Beside, pressure will be applied to both sides of the roof, and not to just one side during testing.

The changes and standards have pleased safety advocates, because these are much stronger than current standards that only test one side of the roof. The new standards come after about a decade of studies and research by the NHTSA. In 2005 , the agency was ordered to establish standards that would help protect drivers and passengers in rollover accidents. According to agency statistics, approximately 10,000 people die in such car accidents every year. Two thirds of these people die when they are ejected from the vehicle. The number of people who die because of a roof crush or collapse is 667. The agency believes that the new standards will save 135 lives every year, and prevent more than 1,000 injuries.

The new standards cover passenger cars, but not full size pickups and sports utility vehicles that are more than 6,000 pounds in weight. Vehicles that weigh between 6,000 and 7,000 pounds are subject to different standards – they must withstand pressure that’s 1.5 times the vehicle’s weight. Large 12 to 15 seater passenger vans and convertibles are not subject to the new standards either.

Driver’s lack of attention and negligence continue to be the primary reason for an overwhelming majority of car accidents in the country. However, motorist and passenger safety also depend on the safety of the vehicle. The role of roof collapse may not be as heavy as that of passenger ejections during a rollover, but any improvements that can be implemented to make cars safer are more than welcome. We deserve an auto safety agency that works to enforce stronger standards on auto manufacturers.