NHTSA Holds Off on Rescinding Windshield-Zone Intrusion

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have withdrawn a rulemaking proposal to rescind Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 219, ‘‘Windshield zone intrusion.’’

The agency has determined that there are two ongoing regulatory developments that could influence vehicle designs by putting a premium on the use of lighter or less rigid materials: U.S. fuel economy requirements and a global technical regulation aimed at reducing injuries to pedestrians struck by vehicles. As a result, the agency believes that vehicle designs with regard to the hood and windshield are in a state of change and that the implications of these developments should be better understood before deciding whether to rescind FMVSS No. 219.

FMVSS No. 219, ‘‘Windshield zone intrusion,’’ provides that a vehicle’s hood must not enter a defined zone in front of the vehicle’s windshield during a full frontal crash test at 30 miles per hour. The purpose of the standard is to reduce injuries and fatalities that result from occupant contact with vehicle components, such as the hood, that are displaced into the occupant compartment through the windshield opening or into the zone immediately forward of the windshield aperture during a frontal crash.

FMVSS No. 219 specifies a protected zone at the daylight opening (DLO) portion of the vehicle windshield. The protected zone is an area encompassing the width of the windshield and that protrudes about 3 inches from the outer surface of the windshield. In a 30 mph frontal rigid barrier crash test, no part of the vehicle from outside the occupant compartment, except windshield molding and other components designed to normally be in contact with the windshield, are permitted to penetrate the protected zone to a depth of more than 0.25 inches and no such part of a vehicle is permitted to penetrate the inner surface of that portion of the windshield, within the DLO, below the protected zone.

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