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11-16-2019, 03:39 PM
Automakers OK safety rules for car-truck crashes

By Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY


The nine major automakers agreed Tuesday to make SUVs and pickups less dangerous to people in cars that are hit head-on, the industry's trade group said.
The companies agreed that the beams they're putting on trucks to prevent cars from sliding under them would meet a new strength test when they're installed by September 2009.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers also says automakers approved a research program on crash or crash-simulation tests for head-on collisions between cars and trucks.

The companies have been lowering the front ends of trucks or installing "blocker beams" to meet a voluntary standard they agreed to in 2003. They've also been installing side-curtain air bags to protect people in vehicles hit in the side, especially by trucks.

Tests are needed to ensure that these changes actually reduce the risk of death and injury and whether more needs to be done. Once tests are agreed to, some automakers will have to further redesign overly rigid truck front ends to make them less dangerous to the vehicles they hit.

USA TODAY reported last month that Ford Motor tried to persuade other automakers to disband the industry group working on these voluntary standards for crashes between cars and trucks. After the article appeared, Tuesday's meeting, delayed for months, was scheduled to finalize the automakers' agreement on new rules.

Ford and DaimlerChrysler had opposed having the meeting and developing new standards, according to industry officials involved in the process who discussed the matter with Ford. The officials would not speak on the record because the meetings are private. Ford says it never "wavered in its commitment" to industry standards; DaimlerChrysler says it wanted more research before new standards were set.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Brian O'Neill, who chairs the committee that met Tuesday, says there was "no acrimony, just a lot of discussion."

Automakers also agreed to study new ways to reduce risks to vehicles that are hit in the side.

Last fall, all the automakers began reporting which of their vehicles met the industry standards for side and front crashes. All vehicles must meet the standards by September 2009.

In a statement, the alliance said its members "remain proud of the initiative and are moving forward."


Well, all I can say is "it's about fuckin' time!"