Law & Order


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reissued a proposal it made in 2005 to revise the vehicle roof strength standard, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 216. The new version would require manufacturers to design vehicle roofs that withstand at least 2.5 times the weight of the vehicle during a two-sided roof strength test as an alternative to testing just one side. 

The current standard, which has remained unchanged since 1971, requires the roof to support at least 1.5 times the vehicle weight when tested on one side only. The static tests are conducted by pressing a metal plate down on the roof over the driver’s seat, then the passenger’s seat. SEMA has submitted comments to two previous NHTSA proposals urging the agency to make sure a revised roof crush standard will still permit the installation of sunroofs. The NHTSA did not anticipate any problems. 

Click here for the proposed rule:

Comments are due by March 17, 2008. The NHTSA intends to issue a final rule by mid-2008, at which time it may decide in favor of one- or two-sided testing. For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein: