by Bob Beranek

There are recent changes to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that pertain to our industry and I thought I would give you a heads up.  These changes are not going to drastically change the way we install auto glass, but will accentuate the need for proper installations.

FMVSS 111 – Mirrors
This standard has not changed for over a decade. The main changes that occurred 10 years ago were the “break-away” mirror mounting and the 90 square inch rule for big over-the-road trucks. The break-away mirrors rule, as you recall, is the rule that the mirror mounting must allow the mirror to break away from the windshield surface with a force of about 90lbs. The 90 square inch rule applied to passenger cars for a short while, but changed to only include trucks over 10,000 gross vehicle weight (GVW).  It stated that a mirror with a surface of 90 square inches or less must be convex.

FMVSSs 205, 208, 212, 214
These standards have not changed at all and need not waste your time on the particulars.

FMVSS 216 – Roof Crush
This is the standard that has changed the most.  In May of 2009 the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) published its new FMVSS 216a.  It was a major change for those that tested vehicles so a period of time was given to design and build the testing equipment. NHTSA also has a phase in plan for vehicle manufacturers to build their vehicles to meet the new standard. Here are the changes:

  1. There are two 50th percentile dummies placed in the two front seats to measure the effects of roof crush to the head area.
  2. The test is now performed on both sides of the vehicle and not just on the driver side.
  3. A vehicle is found in compliance when the roof does not exceed 5 inches in deformity and the dummies’ heads are not impacted with more than 50 lbs of force.
  4. There are two different methods of testing depending on the vehicle weight:
    a. If the vehicle has a GVW of less than 6,000 lbs, the roof must withstand three times the unloaded vehicle weight (UVW);
    b. If the vehicle has a GVW of more than 6,000 lbs, but less than 10,000 lbs., the roof must withstand 1.5 times the UVW.
  5. The Phase-in was given to manufacturers to ease the burden of these new standards.  To be in compliance the vehicle manufacturers have to meet this schedule:
    a. Less than 6000 lbs,
    i.     25 percent compliance by September 1, 2012
    ii.     50 percent compliance by September 1, 2013
    iii.     75 percent compliance by September 1, 2014
    iv.     100 percent compliance by September 1, 2014
    b. More than 6,000 lbs and less than 10,000 lbs.
    i.     100 percent compliance by September 1, 2016

FMVSS 219 – Passenger Compartment Intrusion
This standard no longer exists. It was removed because the modern day designs of vehicles are constructed to assure passenger compartments are the refuge during a crash.  The government felt it did not need to state the obvious and removed the entire standard.

These changes are the biggest change to the FMVSS in years, as it pertains to our industry, and the phase-in is beginning this year. Will this make us change the way we install?  No, not really. But it will make us think twice about how and what we do and how it will affect the overall crashworthiness of our customers’ vehicles.

Comments (3)

  1. Nik Frye said on 16-03-2012

    Good stuff. Thanks for the heads up Bob!

  2. andre said on 31-01-2013

    It would be fair to drivers to amend the FMVSS 111driver side mirror rule. The amendment should require car manufacturer / importer / dealer to provide a convex driver mirror part either free of charge, or same cost as a flat replacement mirror upon purchase of a new vehicle. The car owner has then the option of installing the convex mirror part, should her or she believe it works better than the flat mirror. Most people who driven in Europe, Asia would do the swap. The basis is that the if the car is manufactured in Europe or Japan it would already have the convex mirror but is changed to inferior flat fo US import, in order to meet the misguided FMVSS 111 mirror mandate.

  3. keith elder said on 31-03-2014

    i agree Bob about the “does this affect how we install comment”.. NO it does not .. either a window is installed properly or it isnt.. being responsible for the “roof crush” standard is the problem of the manufacturer to make their roofs stronger so as not to crush. you cant hand down this to the glass guy, we didnt design the car, we just fix ’em.. safety first.

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