Regulating Automobile Side Impact: A Presentation of the Arguments Surrounding FMVSS 214 941036
The upgrade to standard 214 that improves side impact protection seems at first to be a rather straight forward issue. A safety problem is defined and the government sets forth to solve it. This is fine until policies and positions are taken by the main parties involved that conflict with one another. This is in part because of a fundamental difference in evaluating biomedical research data. This causes a delay in the rulemaking. Consumer advocates consider that delay to be deadly. Political stands also seem to be a reason that the rulemaking took over 10 years to be completed. During all this time everyone agreed that there was a safety hazard, but no one could agree on how to solve the problem. The major controversy settles around the biofidelity of the Side Impact Dummy (SID). The other main part is a push for a regulation that is compatible with the Europeans. This paper does not try to determine if any one party was at fault, but rather it is intended to give the reader an overview of the policies and actions taken by the interested parties to get the side impact protection standard upgraded.