New NHTSA Rollover Rules: Now How Much Would You Pay?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
new nhtsa rollover rules now how much would you pay

The Detroit News reports that the NHTSA’s upgrade of roof crush strength standards will add $1.4 billion to the cost of new cars industry-wide, but will save 135 lives per year. Based on the NHTSA’s numbers, the costs will come out to about $54 per vehicle in design costs and another $15 to $62 in added fuel costs. In other words, even the NHTSA admits that uprated roof strength tests do trade off with fuel economy.

To our list of complaints with the uprated standard (and US safety standards in general), now add this: The final regulation boosts the requirement to three times the weight for vehicles up to 6,000 pounds, but vehicles 6,000-10,000 pounds must meet a 1.5 times standard. Huh? It’s not that tiered standards are inherently bad, but why tier them by weight rather than, say, rollover risk?

The AAM, an industry lobbying group, says it “supports NHTSA’s goal of enhancing rollover safety through a comprehensive plan aimed at eliminating rollover injuries and fatalities, and enhanced roof strength is only one part of that plan.” Which is pretty tame considering even the DetN reports that “General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. essentially wrote the regulation that’s been in effect since 1973 after their fleets failed NHTSA’s first proposed standard in 1971.”

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4 of 37 comments
  • MBella MBella on May 05, 2009

    I don't have a problem adding $60 to the price of my new car to prevent 135 deaths. The problem is like others have said, with the huge pillar deaths will likely increase.

  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on May 05, 2009
    VerbalKint : Anybody know in what percentage of the fatalities the person was not wearing a seatbelt? Those don't count as auto deaths. They're listed as natural selection deaths. Just kidding, though I wish I wasn't.

  • Niky Niky on May 05, 2009
    dean : May 5th, 2009 at 1:30 pm This is ridiculous. Especially the weight cut-off. They should use a cg/track formula so that the majority of cars can stay with the 1.5 standard. Which would force the 3x standard onto SUVs and pickups, which of course would further increase the likelihood of a roll. Scrap the whole damn thing. Promote stability control systems on high-roll-propensity vehicles instead. I like this idea better... Or maybe they should focus on making the cars lighter, to bring the roofs into standard.

  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on May 06, 2009

    the money isn't the problem folks its adding all that extra weight to the top of the vehicle. this destroys vehicle dynamics. this is why I hate sunroofs. Get a god damned convertible if you want some sun.