Will The New NHTSA Rule Prevent Passenger Ejections During Washington DC Car Accidents?

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has a new rule that will hopefully help decrease the number of occupant ejections that occur in passenger vehicle crashes. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the final rule today. He said that the “new standard will help save lives and reduce injuries.”

Per the new rule, automakers must create a countermeasure for light passenger autos weighing less than 10,000 pounds that will keep the equivalent of an adult without a seat belt from moving over 4 inches past the side window opening during a traffic crash—especially during a rollover accident. The new standard applies to the side windows next to the first three rows of seats and to part of the cargo area behind rows one and two will start phasing in during 2013. All new vehicles will have to offer this ejection protection by 2018. NHTSA administrator David Strickland has said that once this standard is fully implemented, about 476 serious injuries and 374 fatalities will be prevented each year.

A person ejected from a vehicle during a Washington DC auto accident has a three times greater chance of dying than the person who was able to remain inside the vehicle. Partial ejections can also result in catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.

In some DC car accidents, a passenger is ejected from the vehicle because he/she was not using a seat belt. Still, other ejections happen because the seat belt malfunctioned, the vehicle’s roof was not well-structured, or the impact of the crash was so forceful that the person was inevitably thrown from the vehicle. There may be a negligent driver, car manufacturer, auto part manufacturer, or another liable party who can be held liable for Washington DC auto products liability.

Final rule aimed at reducing partial and complete vehicle ejections, NHTSA, January 13, 2011
Automakers face tough new rollover-crash rule, CNN, January 13, 2011
Related Web Resource:
Read More About the New Ejection Standard, NHTSA (PDF)

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