The cost to the consumer and the impact on the insurance industry of rolling back the standards for passenger car bumpers are discussed. This downgrading means that the front and rear of a car would no longer have to withstand a 5-mile-per-hour impact with a fixed barrier. The new standards require protection at only 2.5 mph, and allows manufacturers to reduce the shock absorbing potential of bumpers. The government estimated that this would save the car owner $28 over the lifetime of the car. This, however, had not proved to be the case. Crash tests have shown that cars with the weaker bumpers sustained $172 to $497 more in repairs than those with bumpers built to the old specifications. The results of tests by the Insurance Institute which support this claim are described. Automakers' response to this downgrading regulation has been mixed. Volvo and Honda have downgraded bumpers on all cars. Chrysler has changed bumpers on some models, and Ford has kept all bumpers at the 5-mph standard. The new standard is opposed by many auto insurance companies who have sued charging that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration overstepped its mandate by rolling back bumper standards. The suit contends that the government estimates were flawed and that they ignored the 5-mph bumper's greater savings.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Kiplinger Washington Editors, Incorporated

    1729 H Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20006
  • Publication Date: 1983-8

Media Info

  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: 2 p.
  • Serial:
    • Changing Times
    • Volume: 37
    • Issue Number: 8
    • Publisher: Kiplinger Washington Editors, Incorporated
    • ISSN: 0009-143X

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00387744
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-036 414
  • Files: HSL, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 30 1984 12:00AM