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New Safety Regulation Hopes to Reduce Number of Fatal Rollovers

Rollover crashes account for about one third of all fatal car accidents, according to federal government statistics. Many of those deaths are caused by drivers or passengers being ejected from the vehicle during the crash.

It makes sense that by reducing the number of people thrown from their cars, you would reduce the number of fatalities in these car accidents. To that end, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a new regulation requiring car makers to start producing vehicles that have larger, more sensitive side airbags.

The new regulation is designed to reduce the number of people who died after being thrown from vehicles in rollover car accidents. Currently, most new cars sold in the United States have side curtain airbags, but the NHTSA says that they do not do enough. The new regulation changes the requirements for these side airbags.

Over the next two years, car manufacturers will need to start building vehicles with airbags that are larger and will deploy in more situations. By 2017, all new cars and trucks will need to meet the new requirements.

David Strickland is the administrator with the NHTSA. He said that an average of 10,000 people die in rollover crashes each year. The new regulations are projected to save approximately 373 lives and prevent 476 serious injuries annually once they are fully enacted.

Safety regulations implemented in the past have been proven to save lives. We may be tempted to take for granted safety mechanisms like seat belts, but the truth is that regulations like this one are the reason we have those safety precautions in our vehicles. Hopefully, this new regulation will protect drivers and passengers in rollover crashes.

Source: Reuters News (online), "Automakers must reduce rollover ejections: U.S. Government," John Crawley, 13 Jan 2011

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