The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has commissioned a study that seems to indicate that a dramatic increase in roof safety is in order. The group's resulting newly proposed standards would require a vehicle's roof to withstand 2.5 times the specific vehicle's weight. According to the IIHS, this change could reduce the risk of fatalities in a single vehicle rollover by more than 20%.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also supports the tougher standards, though the Bush Administration had allowed three separate deadlines to pass without updating its requirements, which have remained the same since they were first instituted in 1973. Those initial rules standards require that the roof of a vehicle be capable of withstanding 1.5 times the vehicle weight.
So far, automakers have supported this standard, although they are requesting that the new requirements for roof strength be phased in gradually, partially over concerns of rising vehicle weight that negatively impacts fuel economy