WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- U.S. auto-safety regulators will require automakers to take steps to prevent passengers from being ejected from side windows in rollover crashes under a rule issued today.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said improving anti-ejection measures will cost $31 per vehicle, or $507 million annually for all cars sold in the U.S. The agency said the measures may save 373 lives a year by making it more likely that people will stay inside vehicles that crash. Forty- seven percent of people killed in rollover crashes are ejected from vehicles, the agency said.
“Rollover crashes are the deadliest of all crash types and this is another important step in our efforts to reduce fatalities and serious injuries that result from them,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said today in a statement.
The rule will be phased in beginning in 2013. All new vehicles must meet the standard by model year 2018.
The agency didn’t dictate how manufacturers meet the mandate. Options include window glazing, to prevent shattering in crashes, and side-curtain air bags.
Air bag manufacturers include Continental AG, TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., Autoliv Inc. and Johnson Controls Inc.
Almost 10,000 people a year have died in passenger-vehicle rollover crashes in the past decade, according to NHTSA. The number of rollover deaths fell in 2009 to 8,267, the agency said in the rule. In addition to the lives saved, NHTSA estimated 476 “serious” injuries will be prevented annually.
A spokesperson for the main trade group representing automakers didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.