Not that keeping up the canvas top on your convertible would protect you in the event of a rollover, but the NHTSA would like you to know that it will not hold your convertible to the same roof-crush requirements as vehicles with fixed roofs. Autoweek reports that the agency will also not require rollover rules for convertibles that mandate items like roll bars and reinforced A-pillars. Many automakers already include such safety features voluntarily. Retractable hardtops are also being exempt, as their A- and B-pillars are not permanently connected. One new vehicle to which the higher standards will be applied is the Jeep Wrangler, which is not being considered a convertible since its sports bar is considered a roof-type structure.
Federal regulators are currently pushing for the NHTSA?s proposed increase in a vehicle?s ?roof-crush resistance?, but convertibles are a non-issue to the agency since in 2004 they were involved in less than 1 percent of rollover related deaths. The increase is aimed mainly at trucks and SUVs with higher centers of gravity. There?s also a pesky little federal law that states the NHTSA cannot regulate a vehicle type out of existence, which is what would happen if roof-less vehicles were required to meet a standard involving the strength of their roofs.