The Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released last month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concedes that testing vehicles for roof crush on both sides of the roof is effective, but the proposal makes no mention of the safety advantages of doing this.

The proposal is still a static test – one based on mathematical calculations, rather than a dynamic physical test – and it still is at 2.5 times the weight of the vehicle. The proposal absolutely ignores ejection and containment in the vehicle during rollovers, in which 10,500 people die each year and another 17,000 are seriously injured.

To justify a strong rollover protection standard, NHTSA should address roof crush, ejection and containment as one standard. By dividing it into three standards, the roof crush portion of the protection proposal continues to be totally inadequate.

Beasley Allen has just tried a rollover case against Ford Motor Co. and know from that and prior trials that dynamic rollover testing is essential. How NHTSA and the car makers can ignore ejection in their testing is a mystery.


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