The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs more time to revise its auto roof standards. The deadline to toughen the current regulation setting standards, which are 35 years old, is July 1, but the NHTSA is allowed to ask the US Congress for an extension.
The NHTSA’s current proposal, introduced in 2005, requires new roofs to be able to endure a force equal to 2.5 times the weight of a vehicle, while allowing for enough head room protection for the average adult male. It also calls for testing both sides of a roof. The current standard calls for a roof to withstand 1.5 times it’s vehicles weight and the testing of only one side of the roof.
The auto strength regulations are designed to provide safety protection for people that are involved in rollover accidents, which account for 1/3rd of all motor vehicle fatalities. About10,000 people are killed in rollover accidents each year.
The NHTSA has said that increasing the weight standard to the proposed regulations should save 13-44 lives and prevent some 800 injuries annually. Opponents of the current proposal, however, say that the new proposed standard is not enough. Some critics also want the NHTSA to get rid of a provision in the new proposal that prevents injured plaintiffs from filing state injury lawsuits if the vehicle involved in the accident had met the new roof safety standards.
While motor vehicle rollover accidents can happen because of driver negligence, there are rollover crashes that do occur because of defects in the design or manufacture of a motor vehicle, including a poorly designed roof structure, an auto designed with a gravity center that is too high, and defective tires.
Our Maryland and Washington DC law firm has helped drivers and passengers injured in accidents obtain compensation from negligent auto manufacturers. We have the resources and experience to successfully take on your case.
Contact Lebowitz & Mzhen today for your free consultation with one of our motor vehicle crash lawyers.