Tracking Windshield Safety


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Proper windshield installations are crucial to safety in the event of an auto accident, but there is little data available on faulty windshield installations and how often they occur. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency that normally tracks automotive safety issues, does not track windshield retention or windshield safety in accidents.

Automotive expert Ben Kelley of the Center for Product Safety spoke about windshield safety at an industry meeting a few years back. “The role of the windshield in maintaining vehicle integrity has not really been addressed by NHTSA,” said Kelley.

While data is not widely available for windshields that did not maintain the proper bond in an accident, NHTSA does track fatalities and injuries by windshield ejection, according to a 2009 proposal for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for ejection mitigation. Though the proposal mainly focused on sidelites, the proposal cited that from 1997 through 2005 and estimated that 3,488 people were injured by ejection through windshields and 1,155 were killed.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader called on the NHTSA in 2005 to issue a consumer advisory regarding windshield replacements (and also called on the agency to introduce roof crush standards).

“Inappropriate adhesive applications, shortened drive-away times and improper glass handling techniques are just a few of the dangerous shortcuts plaguing the auto glass replacement industry and resulting in an unknown number of weak windshield installations which will not even protect occupants from the first impact in the first half roll,” wrote Nader in his letter to the agency. “Furthermore, an incorrectly mounted windshield may not even be strong enough to withstand the impact of a passenger airbag, which is designed to fire into the windshield for proper positioning. If improperly installed, a replacement windshield can literally be blown out of its mounting by passenger airbag detonation.”

Today no action has been taken by the agency.

What Can You Do?

If you are in need of a windshield replacement, the statistics above may seem daunting. But there are many quality auto glass businesses out there available to replace your windshield. Check out the Glass.com auto glass service locator today to find a shop to replace your windshield. Many of the shops on the locator service are registered with the Auto Glass Safety Council™, which means they have agreed to complete all installations in accordance with the AGRSS™ Standard, the industry’s only safety standard for proper windshield installations.

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