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Evaluation Report on Glass-Plastic Windshield Glazing, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Motor Vehicle Glazing Materials

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Evaluation Report on Glass-Plastic Windshield Glazing, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Motor Vehicle Glazing Materials

Donald C. Bischoff
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
February 22, 1994

[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 35 (Tuesday, February 22, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-3871]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: February 22, 1994]


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
[Docket No. 94-11; Notice 01]


Evaluation Report on Glass-Plastic Windshield Glazing, Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Motor Vehicle Glazing Materials

agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.

action: Request for comments.


summary: This notice announces the publication by NHTSA of an 
Evaluation Report concerning Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 
205, ``Glazing Materials.'' This staff report evaluates the safety, 
durability, and cost of glass-plastic windshield glazing which was 
introduced, for a limited time, in selected new passenger car models. 
The report was developed in accordance with Executive Order 12866, 
which requires Federal agencies to carry out periodic reviews of 
regulations that they have promulgated. NHTSA seeks public review and 
comment on this evaluation. Comments will be used to complete the 
review as required by the Executive Order.

dates: Comments must be received no later than May 23, 1994.


    Report: Interested persons may obtain a copy of the report free of 
charge by sending a self-addressed mailing label to: Ms. Glorious 
Harris (NAD-51), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590.
    Comments: All comments should refer to the docket and notice number 
of this notice and be submitted to: Docket Section, room 5109, Nassif 
Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. [Docket Hours, 
9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.] It is requested but not 
required that 10 copies of comments be submitted.
    Submissions containing information for which confidential treatment 
is requested should be submitted (3 copies) to Chief Counsel, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, room 5219, 400 Seventh Street 
SW., Washington, DC 20590, and 7 copies from which the purportedly 
confidential information has been deleted should be sent to the Docket 

for further information contact: Mr. Frank G. Ephraim, Chief, 
Evaluation Division, Office of Strategic Planning and Evaluation, Plans 
and Policy, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, room 5208, 
400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590 (202-366-1574).

supplementary information: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 205 (49 CFR 571.205), ``Glazing Materials,'' issued by 
NHTSA in January 1968, prescribes safety requirements for all glazing 
materials used in motor vehicles, including the windshield, the 
windows, and any interior partitions. The purpose of the standard is to 
reduce injuries resulting from impact with glazing surfaces, to ensure 
a necessary degree of transparency in motor vehicle windows for driver 
visibility, and to minimize the possibility of occupants being thrown 
through the vehicle windshield in collisions.
    In 1985, the agency published an evaluation study (DOT HS 806 693, 
February 1985) of conventional windshield glazing which has been 
standard equipment in American-made vehicles since the mid-1960's. 
Conventional glazing, often referred to as ``HPR'' (or High Penetration 
Resistant) glazing, was found to be a significant safety improvement 
over prior glazing designs, and was credited with bringing about a 
major reduction in the frequency and severity of head and facial 
injuries which resulted from occupants being thrown against the 
windshield in crashes. The primary benefit of the HPR design was a 
large reduction in the more severe facial lacerations and fractures, 
with a more modest reduction in minor lacerations, the majority of 
which still remained after HPR glazing was introduced.
    In 1983, NHTSA amended FMVSS No. 205 to permit (but not require) 
the use of a new type of glazing, known as ``glass-plastic'' glazing. 
Glass-plastic glazing is similar in construction to the type used in 
the HPR windshield design except for the addition of a thin sheet of 
plastic bonded to the inside surface of the windshield. This feature 
was believed to have a high potential for reducing lacerative injuries 
to occupants who struck the windshield during crashes. At the same 
time, there was some concern over the durability of the softer plastic 
liner of the glass-plastic windshield relative to the inner glass 
surface of the standard HPR windshield.
    Following NHTSA's amendment of FMVSS No. 205, two motor vehicle 
manufacturers equipped a number of their cars with glass-plastic 
windshields for field testing in rental fleets. One of the 
manufacturers also introduced the windshield to the general public by 
making it standard equipment on selected make models for a limited 
period of time.
    NHTSA is conducting an evaluation study of glass-plastic glazing to 
assess its potential for lacerative injury reduction, its durability 
characteristics, and its costs. The report is based on analyses of data 
from State crash files; fleet tests; and on information from vehicle 
manufacturers, glass companies, and other sources. The primary findings 
and conclusions of the study are:
     Safety. Although insufficient to support firm conclusions, 
crash data from both State files and fleet tests indicate that 
lacerative injury reduction benefits from glass-plastic windshields are 
substantially less than the virtual elimination of these injuries, 
originally projected by the agency. While the plastic inner liner does 
reduce cuts from broken glass, lacerations can still occur from blunt 
impact with the plastic liner.
     Durability. Data from rental fleet operations and 
manufacturer warranty claims indicate that durability problems are 
greater than anticipated. Primarily, these problems involve the 
susceptibility of the plastic inner liner to damage (cuts, scratches) 
from the everyday motor vehicle environment.
     Costs. In volume quantities, it is estimated that a glass-
plastic windshield will add $65 to the cost of a new car. Additional 
consumer costs would accrue due to the lower durability of the 
windshield compared to the conventional windshield. The cost of 
replacing a glass-plastic windshield is estimated to be over $1,700, 
compared to about $500 for replacing a conventional windshield. This 
high cost difference has caused most replacements of glass-plastic 
windshields to be made with conventional windshields, thereby negating 
any safety benefit inherent in the glass-plastic glazing.
     Today's high rates of safety belt use, together with the 
high installation rates of air bags--in contrast to the situation a 
decade ago when the agency authorized the use of glass-plastic glazing 
means that the size of the lacerative injury problem due to windshield 
contact in crashes is now substantially smaller and will continue to 
    NHTSA invites comments from interested persons on the evaluation 
study summarized in this notice and on other relevant issues.
    Comments must not exceed 15 pages in length. (49 CFR 553.21). 
Necessary attachments may be appended to these submissions without 
regard to the 15-page limit. This limitation is intended to encourage 
commenters to detail their primary comments in a concise fashion.
    Those persons desiring to be notified upon receipt of their 
comments in the docket should enclose a self-addressed stamped postcard 
in the envelope with their comments. Upon receiving the comments, the 
docket supervisor will return the postcard by mail.

(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1401, 1407; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50 
and 501.8)

    Issued on: February 9, 1994.
Donald C. Bischoff,
Associate Administrator for Plans and Policy.
[FR Doc. 94-3871 Filed 2-18-94; 8:45 am]

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