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General Motors tricked NHTSA into establishing insubstantial roof crush standards

On January 6, 1971, NHTSA proposed a roof intrusion protection rule that would test both front corners of the roof on passenger vehicles. GM argued to NHTSA that testing both sides of the roof was unnecessary because "in most cases roof structure damage is distributed to only one side of the roof in an actual rollover and that, because the roof is symmetrical it makes no difference which side of the roof is selected for testing." NHTSA subsequently published a roof crush requirement, which remains in effect today that tests only a single side of the vehicle roof. Not only is this standard insufficient seeing that in most rollovers both sides of a vehicle’s roof are crushed. Litigation in Lambert v. GM revealed documents showing that following NHTSA’s proposal GM, tested six of their vehicle models on both sides of the roof and five of the six failed.

Click here to read the holding of Lambert v. GM.

    » autosafety | industry | roof debacle

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