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Auto Safety Glossary


Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM)
Proposed rules in NPRM or ANPRM form are submitted by federal agencies in public dockets so that interested parties can comment on the rules agencies are formulating before a final rule is passed. ANPRMs generally precede NPRMs.

Anton’s Law
A law requiring NHTSA to strengthen child safety in passenger vehicles. This law was named after Anton Skeen, a four-year-old killed after a seatbelt failed to retain him in a rollover crash, whose mother, Autumn Skeen, has been an invaluable advocate on the issue.
For more information see:  http://www.citizen.org/autosafety/booster_seat/

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE)
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) is the sales weighted average fuel economy, expressed in mpg, of a manufacturer’s fleet of passenger cars or light trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR-see below) of 8,500 lbs. or less, manufactured for sale in the United States, for any given model year.
For more information see: http://www.citizen.org/autosafety/fuelecon

Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH)
This organization works to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by truck related crashes, to provide compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families, to freeze truck size and weight limits at current levels, to raise public awareness of important safety issues, to educate legislators on issues related to truck safety regulation and to reduce the problem of truck driver fatigue.
For more information see: http://www.trucksafety.org/

Department of Transportation (DOT) -
The Secretary of Transportation is the principal adviser to the President in all matters relating to federal transportation programs. The Office of the Secretary (OST) oversees the formulation of national transportation policy and promotes intermodal transportation. Other responsibilities range from negotiation and implementation of international transportation agreements, assuring the fitness of US airlines, enforcing airline consumer protection regulations, issuance of regulations to prevent alcohol and illegal drug misuse in transportation systems and preparing transportation legislation.
For more information see: http://www.dot.gov/

Early Warning System
The Early Warning database, which will contain up-to-date defect-related information submitted by auto manufacturers on a quarterly basis, will prove to be the most significant provision of the TREAD Act (see below) and will assure that information collected and maintained by manufacturers about defective vehicles is made public.

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)
Government-sponsored recording system that tracks fatal motor vehicle crashes on U.S. public roads.
For more information see: http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
Agency within the DOT that regulates commercial motor vehicles. The primary mission of FMCSA is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.
For more information see: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) –
A FOIA is a written request to view the records of federal agencies. While a FOIA does not give access to records held by Congress, the courts, or by state or local government agencies, it opens the federal regulatory process to public inspection.
For more information see: http://www.usdoj.gov/04foia/

Fuel Economy
The average mileage traveled by an automobile per gallon of gasoline (or equivalent amount of other fuel) consumed as measured in accordance with the testing and evaluation protocol set forth by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
For more information see: http://www.fueleconomy.gov

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
Value specified by the manufacturer as the weight of a fully loaded vehicle.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
An unprecedented trade and investment agreement with Canada and Mexico that furthered corporate plans to integrate the three economies at the expense of jobs, wages, public health, food safety, the environment, highway safety and labor standards.  For more information see: http://www.citizen.org/trade/nafta/

NAFTA Trucks -
A provision in NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, required the United States to allow Mexican trucks to cross the border and access all border-state roads starting in 1995, and to drive anywhere in the country by January 2000.  For more information see: http://www.citizen.org/autosafety/Truck_Safety/mex_trucks/

New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)
Publication of NHTSA’s crash test program, with results of crash test and rollover ratings for most new vehicles manufactured since 1990.
For more information see: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/testing/ncap/

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) -
This is the federal agency responsible for establishing automotive safety standards and making manufacturers recall defective products.
For more information see: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) –
Proposed rules in NPRM or ANPRM form are submitted by federal agencies in public dockets so that interested parties can comment on the rules agencies are formulating before a final rule is passed.

Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.) –
This organization has been successful in bringing the truck driver fatigue issue to the forefront at National events though out the United States. They work towards Hours-of-Service rules, drivers pay for all hours worked, on-Board Computers, availability of sufficient and safe rest areas, and public education on fatigued driving.
For more information see: http://www.patt.org/frames.html

Point of Sale Labeling –
Warning or information labels available on products that are for sale (i.e. the fuel economy labels placed in the window of all cars on a dealer’s lot).
For more information see: http://www.citizen.org/autosafety/defectsovers/pointofsale/

Rollover -
Vehicle crashes where one or more of the vehicles involved is tipped off of its wheels and onto its side, roof or back onto its wheels again. Although the forces of a crash impact are dispersed in a rollover crash, making rollovers hypothetically less dangerous than other crashes, vehicles are not designed with rollover safety in mind. Therefore, rollovers are highly devastating crashes – about one third of all crash fatalities occur in rollovers.
For more information see: http://www.citizen.org/autosafety/rollover/

Research Safety Vehicle (RSV) –
Experimental vehicle developed by NHTSA in the 1970s that weighed only 2,450 lbs., achieved 32 miles to the gallon in 1978 and was able to protect its occupants in a full frontal barrier impact at 50 miles per hour (mph) and in side impact and rollover crashes at 40 mph without significant risk of occupant injury. The RSV created by NHTSA was destroyed by the government.
For more information see: http://www.autosafety.org/article.php?did=314&scid=37

Shield Booster
Basic booster seats with a padded shield guard that rests in front of a child's chest area. These booster seats are dangerous for children and both NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics have warned parents not to use them.
For more information see: http://www.citizen.org/autosafety/booster_seat/

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Systems that alert drivers if their tires are underinflated. TREAD directed NHTSA to issue a tire pressure monitoring rule after the much publicized deaths and injuries caused in crashes involving shred-prone Firestone tires. A direct TPMS monitors the pressure in each tire and is preferable to an indirect TPMS that only measure a tire’s pressure in relation to the other tires on the vehicle.
For more information see: http://www.citizen.org/autosafety/tread/tpms/

Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act TREAD
The TREAD Act was passed in the wake of the Ford Firestone debacle in the late 1990’s with the intent of increasing consumer protection through a series of auto safety mandates including instructions to NHTSA regarding tires, TPMS, early warning disclosure and rollover testing.
For more information see: http://www.citizen.org/autosafety/tread/

    » autosafety | glossary


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