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Feds Set Safety Rules for Vehicles

July 26, 2002

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reshuffling its regulatory priorities for the next four years, plans to adopt new rules designed to further improve tire safety, strengthen head restraints in cars and trucks, and enhance the safety and durability of fuel tanks within 18 months, according to a Detroit News story by Jeff Plungis.In addition, by 2003, the agency hopes to issue new updated requirements to reduce headlightglare, subject cars and trucks to new tests to enhance the protection of occupants in frontal and side-impact crashes, and to prevent the ejection of vehicle occupants in rollover crashes, NHTSA said July 25.New tire regulations prompted by the recent recall of millions of Firestone tires will top the agency's agenda, largely because Congress mandated changes. Regulations that call for tire pressure monitoring devices and forautomakers to submit extensive documentation on safety problems and warranty claims have already been issued.NHTSA is still working on new rules that would subject light trucks to rollover tests, improve child restraints and require new manufacturing standards for tire makers. At the same time, atimetable to introduce measures to strengthen vehicles' roofs in rollover crashes has been delayed. NHTSA estimates there are 3,700 deaths and serious injuries caused by crushed roofs each year. With a final regulation not expected until 2004, automakers would likely not have to meet new roof crush standards until the 2006 model year, according to the Detroit News.
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