The New York Times
(NYT) has reported that US federal government regulators, worried about the dangers posed by sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, may propose new safety standards that would require substantial design and equipment changes in these vehicles.The NYT said that proposals under consideration by a group at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would require a new side-impact test to be performed, which could force manufacturers to equip more vehicles with side airbags.The NYT said that initiative, which would have to survive several levels of review within the Bush administration before taking effect, is likely to be viewed warily by the automotive industry as a costly attack on its most profitable products.According to the New York Times
, the NHTSA proposals were disclosed by senior officials who want to see them carried out. The standards being considered by the safety agency would also force some small cars to be redesigned so they stand up better in collisions with larger vehicles. According to the New York Times
, the proposals are meant to address a central problem with sport utility vehicles and pickups. When such vehicles hit a car from the side, the occupant of the car is 29 times more likely to be killed than the person in the sport utility vehicle or truck.