Industry Reacts to Roof Crush Resistance Standards Under Review by NHTSA
As the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has decided to delay finalization on revised, stricter roof crush resistance standards until September 2007, several safety proponents in the glass industry took time out to tell AGRR magazine/Glassbytes.com™ what impact, if any, the new guidelines may have on the auto glass industry.
Carl Tompkins, Western sales manager for the Madison Heights, Mich.-based Sika Corp. and chair of the AGRSS credentialing committee, doesn't believe the standard, which will be an update of Federal Motor Vehicle Standard 216 (FMVS 216), will have any effect on the industry because it doesn't apply to aftermarket products.
"They don't give [aftermarket replacement companies] anything you can measure to in 216," Tompkins says. "The variable is the fact that each car is different, each car has different structural components … the size of the glass [varies]. All of this comes into play with FMVS 216 and there's no specific number that fits all [aftermarket applications]."
"They'd have to test every car with every system and urethane," Tompkins says, in order for the aftermarket industry to be able to follow the standards in FMVS 216. However, Tompkins, who has been involved with the AGRSS standard since its inception, added that no matter what sector of the industry the standard affects, it's still of value to the automotive industry as a whole. "Anything that NHTSA does to improve safety is good," he says.
Mark Rizzi, owner of ACR Glass in Alliance, Neb., agreed-but noted that it's up to the glass industry to take it upon themselves to try to meet the same standards as the original-equipment manufacturers.
"The new standard may not make a heck of a lot of difference unless it addresses the aftermarket, or we start paying attention to what the OEMs are doing," Rizzi says. Rizzi adds that he finds that it usually takes a catastrophe to incite needed changes to regulations, such as this one.
"The ultra-dramatic response would be, 'why do the rules of change in this country have to be written in blood?'" Rizzi says. "A lot of people have been screaming about this for some time. No matter what you do, a poor installation of a quality part is no better than a quality installation of a poor part. You still have a weak link in the chain."
Dale Malcolm, technical manager for Dow Automotive in Dayton, Ohio, says he only sees the standard playing a role on the marketing side of the business for glass shops. "I think it comes down to if the glass companies are able to use it in their marketing plan, then the adhesive companies will step up and give the companies what they're looking for," Malcolm says.
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