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Safety-Related Rulemaking

National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Safety-related rulemaking

-- SAFETEA-LU required NHTSA to issue or upgrade a number of important motor vehicle safety standards that included rollover prevention, ejection prevention, door locks, roof strength, and side impact protection. While the agency has expressed a commitment to issue these rules in a timely fashion, the Committee is concerned that NHTSA is taking a one-dimensional approach to developing the requirements for each rule whereas most real-world crashes involve a combination of a these issues. For example, a rollover crash often also involves roof crush, door lock strength, and occupant ejection. For this reason, it is imperative that NHTSA not deal with each issue separately but instead takes a comprehensive, systems engineering approach that integrates all aspects of real-world crashes when issuing these standards for motor vehicles, including large passenger-carrying motor vehicles, such as motorcoaches and school buses.

The Committee directs NHTSA to submit a report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations by May 1, 2008, that explains, for each of the safety rulemakings it must issue in response to SAFETEA-LU, how the agency has taken into account or is addressing the inter-related nature of real-world crashes that involve two or more of the safety standards the agency is required to issue or upgrade under SAFETEA-LU. In preparing this report, NHTSA should also evaluate the need for adopting safety standards for large passenger-carrying motor vehicles to prevent rollover crashes, as well as enhance passenger protection in all types of crashes to prevent severe injuries and deaths from collapsing roofs and passenger ejection from their seats and through motorcoach side windows.