NHTSA Amends FMVSS 205

The Engineering and Standards Committee's Vehicular Subcommittee of the Glass Association of North America's (GANA) Glass Tempering decision presented a report on the coming changes in Federal Motor Vehcicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) at Glass Week 2006. Subcomittee chair Henry Gorry of Guardian provided committee members with a memo detailing the coming changes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a change in FMVSS 205 Glazing Materials, to be effective November 6, 2006. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards apply to original equipment (OE) glazing in vehicles.

The final rule amends 49CFR571.205 as follows:

1. It adopts, by, reference ANSI/SAE Z26.1-1996: details test equipment, test procedures and interpretation of results, which are used to determine if safety glazing materials, including windshields, possess certain qualities.

2. It addresses the lower limit of windshield shade band: NHTSA has amended the Standard to adopt, by reference, an industry practice of establishing a lower limit of a shade band on windshields. NHTSA has now ruled that manufacturers may certify compliance by using either the ECE R43 (seven degree up angle) OR the unmodified SAE J100 (five degree up angle) methods to establish the lower limit.

3. Excepted areas of the windshield: The amended rule now allows obscuration bands with a maximum width of 300 mm, centered to a longitudinal median plane of the vehicle, between a 7- and 3-dgree up angle.

4. Shade bands on aftermarket windshields: any aftermarket windshield made on or after November 1, 2006 must comply with the shade band requirements cited above.

5. Shade bands on side- and backlites: NHTSA has ruled that shade bands on side- and backlites when incorporated into the design of the parts may be shaded, but the shading must not impede the ability of the glazing to meet the light transmittance requirements of FMVSS 205 at "levels requisite for driver visibility." NHTSA has not yet defined what these levels are but is expected to do so in the future.

6. Most difficult part or pattern: changes what gets tested in the fracture test (test 7) for the purpose of certifying compliance with 205. The change means that if a side- or backlite are fabricated from the same glass construction, and the backlite is known to perform worse than the sidelite when submitted to the test, then it is the read window that must be tested to certify compliance. Prior to the rule change, NHTSA had ruled that the most difficult pattern be tested, thinking it would be the most likely to fail.

7. Location of the arrow within the AS markings: corrects a typographical error in the previous version of the rule. AS will remain in the second position (AS arrow 1) rather than the third position.

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