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NHTSA 45-04
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Contact: Ellen Martin,
Telephone: (202) 366-9550


NHTSA Administrator Announces Major Step Toward Saving Lives Worldwide

The United States and more than 20 other nations have agreed on a new standard that will lead to safer vehicles worldwide. This "global standardization" establishes the first international vehicle safety regulation, Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D., Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, announced at a press conference in Geneva today.

The new door retention standard is the result of three years of intensive research, development and negotiations. On the horizon are many additional standards that would regulate head restraints, motorcycle brakes, the installation of lighting devices, vehicle window glazing and pedestrian safety.

"This pioneering achievement paves the way for future vehicle improvements for motorists around the world," Dr. Runge said.

Ultimately, the new international standards, known as "Global Technical Regulations" or GTR's, will also lead to the adoption of best safety practices from all participating nations. In the end, reduced design and engineering costs should mean lower production costs for manufacturers and savings for consumers.

The new door retention regulation is the first international vehicle safety standard to be established under "The 1998 Global Agreement," an accord reached by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which includes the United States and many other countries from around the world.

Earlier today, at the 134 th session of the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, countries that signed the 1998 agreement voted to establish the proposed standard, designed to improve door locks and door retention systems to help prevent injury and death due to passenger ejection.

Among other elements, the new global standard will strengthen safety requirements and test procedures for sliding doors used on many passenger vehicles, including mini-vans and 15-passenger vans.

NHTSA plans to publish a notice in the near future outlining the proposed new door standard for the U.S. market.