On June 17, the US Senate Commerce Committee approved a list of new regulatory requirements that will require automakers to improve safety in several areas, reported the New York Times
. These include making SUVs and pickups less prone to roll over, and to making them less dangerous to other vehicles in collisions.The measures are included in the budget authorization for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and are part of a broad highway financing bill. The proposed new regulations would be phased in from 2004 to 2008. However, the bill still needs to go before the full Senate.Under the proposed new requirements, NHTSA would be required to develop a standard for rollover protection. New roof-strength standards would be required to more accurately reflect what actually happens in rollovers. The proposed new regulations would also be extended to larger SUVs, such as the Hummer which falls outside of current regulations.NHTSA has also laid out new tire performance regulations that would bring requirements for tires on SUVs and pickups in line with the rules for passenger car tires. The agency is also working on rules to improve the way SUV bumpers line up with those of passenger cars.