Current regulations require vehicles sold in the United States to withstand 1.5 times the weight of the vehicle without collapsing more than five inches into occupancy space. The NHTSA proposal would increase the requirement to 2.5 times the vehicle’s weight, however Nader and other advocates want vehicles to withstand at least 4 times their weight, reports Consumer Affairs.
Roughly 11,000 people die on American roads from rollovers each year (about 24,000 suffer permanently disabling accidents), which accounts for 25% of all fatalities even though it constitutes just 5% of all accidents. According to Nader, most of those injuries and deaths occur when the roof collapses, breaking passengers' necks.
Nader also hopes to see rollover accidents become part of official crash testing, in the same fashion as current front, side and rear impact testing.
A number of carmakers, such as Volvo, Saab and Subaru, are already building cars that exceed the federal standards. The NHTSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is expected to update its 36-year-old roof crush standard in July.