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Americans to impose new side-impact protection standards. 26/5/04
New regulations proposed in May by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States mean that auto manufacturers will be all but required to equip new vehicles with side-curtain airbags by 2009.

If, as seems likely, the proposals are adopted, it will involve a series of new side-impact crash standards for head, thorax and abdomen protection, for more passengers in the vehicle.

It is expected that most manufacturers will meet the new rules by adding curtain airbags to the increasingly onorous safety equipment required by federal rules.

The agency estimates some 700 lives could be saved each year once the technology is implemented to meet the new rules.

The proposed changes to existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard rule 214 could become law as soon as 2005.

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