Department of Transportation publication (DOT HS 805 878) lists the basic standards governing such features as: accelerator control systems, brake fluids, head restraints, roof crush resistance, windshield mounting and flammability of interior materials.
(Consumers can obtain a copy of the complete FMVSS by visiting the following link):
While most vehicles come with manuals and paperwork stating that they’re in fully compliance with all relevant FMVSS regulations, many cars slowly develop defective parts. Should critical repairs be postponed too long, it may become less expensive to simply move into a brand new car.
If you’re ready to buy a new vehicle, consider first taking the time to review the FMVSS standards you value most before ever visiting a dealer’s car lot. For example, parents of small children might want to review: (1) how restraint anchorage systems are supposed to operate, (2) whether a particular vehicle’s airbags can harm a small child and (3) how a specific car’s child rollover warning system should operate.
Sample Standards Available for Review
Although the complete FMVSS text is not available online, you can review some of its regulations if they’ve recently been updated — or are currently open for public comment — by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Web site. Be sure to choose the heading “Laws and Regulations” at the top of the page. Final rules are posted there on such topics as tire safety and economy, head restraints and electronic stability control systems (ESC).
I. Head Restraints These standards have been developed to minimize whiplash injuries caused by rear collisions. The government notes that approximately, 16, 831 whiplash accidents are reported each year. Specific
energy absorption, position retention, height and strength requirements are
set forth within these standards.
II. Tire Safety and Economy Apart from learning more about maintaining thick tire treads to obtain better road traction, drivers are reminded that proper tire inflation is directly tied to fuel economy.
III. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Systems
These types of systems are designed to reduce the number of vehicle
rollover accidents occurring each year. ESC systems employ
computer-controlled assistance to help drivers try and steady their
vehicles during unusually threatening driving conditions. An ESC
system can help minimize “spin outs” and “plow outs” due to poor
weather and road conditions.
` This brief discussion of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations (FMVSS) should help readers become better informed about the types of safety features owed to them by vehicle manufacturers.