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New Roof Rules Limit Carmaker Liability

September 13, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government has released a long-awaited proposal to mandate stronger vehicle roofs, which would make it far more difficult for motorists to sue automakers, according to the Detroit News. The proposal says that if vehicles meet minimum federal safety standards, consumers do not have standing to file product liability lawsuits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will collect public comments on the proposal for 90 days, with a final rule expected several months after that. Under this new regulation, which was proposed last month, NHTSA asserts the rules will pre-empt all state laws and court decisions. In its proposal, NHTSA said the new roof-strength requirements represent a careful balance of safety considerations and engineering costs, and manufacturers that meet the standards should be exempt from legal liability, according to the Detroit News report.
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