Manufacturing Transportation

NHTSA maintains stance on side window anti-ejection requirements

Washington – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has denied the majority of requests to delay new vehicle manufacturing requirements intended to help prevent passenger ejections from side windows during a crash or rollover.

A January 2011 final rule required that by Sept. 1, 2013, vehicle manufacturers must begin phasing in improvements to the size and strength of side air bags to help prevent ejections from side windows. A variety of petitioners, including several major vehicle manufacturers and associations, requested that NHTSA provide more time to phase in the changes and loosen testing for the new requirements.

In a Sept. 9 response, NHTSA stated the safety benefits of the new requirements must be implemented as soon as possible.

NHTSA did, however, grant an exemption requested by the National Truck Equipment Association. NHTSA originally had required that windows in a cargo area of a small truck meet the new requirements if the cargo area is partitioned off by a door. The door could be flung open during a crash, NHTSA had said, allowing an occupant to be ejected from a window in the cargo area. The truck association stated that these doors are designed to be latched and are unlikely to be flung open in a crash.