The U.S. Department of Transportation has recently announced a new standard aimed at reducing the number of people that are completely or partially ejected from their vehicles during rollover crashes. Under the new standard, automakers will be required to develop safety measures that prevent an unbelted adult from moving more than 4 inches past the side window opening in the event of a crash. This standard will begin to be phased in during 2013 and all newly manufactured vehicles will be required to provide this protection by 2018.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rollovers are among the deadliest types of auto accidents, accounting for approximately one-third of all traffic deaths and over 10,000 fatalities annually. Approximately half of these fatalities are a direct result of passengers being ejected from their vehicles. David Strickland of the NHTSA has stated that he believes the new standard will prevent an average of 373 fatalities and 476 serious injuries annually when it is fully implemented.