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USA Proposes Amendment For Additional Safety Belt Warnings

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has issued a proposed amendment to their vehicle standard on occupant crash protection.

The proposal requires new warnings for rear seats and enhancing existing front seat belt warnings.

In the backdrop of rising motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States, the U.S. government initiated a strategy to increase passenger safety in vehicles. Part of the efforts is a comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy issued by the Department of Transportation, which aims to significantly reduce serious injuries and deaths on roads as a first step in working toward an ambitious long-term goal of reaching zero roadway fatalities.

The immediate call for action has resulted in a proposal by NHTSA to amend its FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) No. 208 on Occupant Crash Protection. According to the proposal, rear seats shall require a seat belt use warning system as a seat belt use was significantly lower in the rear seats than in the front seats (75% vs. 89% in 2017). Furthermore, the current requirements for front seat belt warnings shall be enhanced by increasing the duration of the audio-visual seat belt warning on vehicle start-up and requiring a seat belt warning for the front outboard passenger seat.

The proposed amendment shall apply for a wide range of vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks, most buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4.536 kg or less. It is open for comments until 6 November 2023 and can be viewed HERE.

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