NHTSA Works to Increase Rollover Safety

United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is determined to make sure that no one dies in a car again. The newest safety protocol from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concerns occupant ejection in side impact crashes and rollovers.

The new regulation would require modification to the side airbags we already see in cars. To keep passengers from being launched out the vehicle during an accident, automakers will need to start with enlarging the existing side curtain airbags. The larger airbags will help to cover the window opening, keeping passengers in the car. NHTSA is also requiring that the new side airbags stay inflated longer and be tethered to the side pillars of the vehicle after inflation. The new regulation also states that the side impact airbags must inflate for both side impact collisions and rollovers.

The ejection mitigation safety standard is only applicable to vehicles under a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 lbs or less. Phase in for the new regulation begins September 1, 2011, with full compliance across all manufacturers required by September 1, 2017.

Source: NHTSA (PDF link)

May son was killed in a auto accident the state police stated he went through the backseat back window. They said he was the Driver his friend who they claim was the passenger walked away with just a cut.
Mary Kay Kidwell
NHTSA's suggestion of stronger side windows will doom the 300/yr victims of vehicle immersion, as well as others who are victims of entrapment (i.e., fire), to a horrible death. NHTSA's ruling is intended to protect vehicle occupants who refuse to wear seatbelts. Not wearing seatbelts is a conscious decision by the vehicle occupants; NHTSA's own statistics have shown the great benefits of wearing seatbelts. While I agree that side air bags will save lives, it has been proven that stronger side window glass will render glass-breaking tools ineffective, thereby preventing escape during an entrapment situation. My awareness of this issue began when my grandson drowned in his car three years ago. Since then I have researched vehicle immersion and consulted with experts around the world who all agree that immediate exit via a side window is crucial to survival. Being able to break the side window glass is essential, but if automakers follow NHTSA's advice, everyone trapped in a vehicle will be prevented from escaping, and thereby surviving. My research shows that the majority of immersion survivors escaped through a window, in many cases by breaking the glass themselves or having help from a bystander. NHTSA has chosen to ignore me and other advocates, despite years of effort on the part of many concerned people. The glass industry has had NHTSA’s ear for a long time, and of course they would profit greatly from a change in auto glass requirements. Please contact me for more information and links to experts who have studied this issue for year and years (including Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht of Manitoba who has published his findings and demonstrated his immersion tests in videos that are available to the public). My web site also provides information, links, statistics, etc.: http://sites.google.com/site/getoutaliveorg/.

New Car Research

Find vehicle reviews, photos & pricing

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles