The new standards up the current crush force from 1.5-times the vehicle's unloaded weight to 3.0-times, along with maintaining sufficient head-room for an average-sized adult male held in place by a seat-belt. The same standard will eventually extend to vehicles up to 10,000 pounds – from the current 6,000-pound requirement – and eventually, the regulation will mandate that vehicles weighing 6,000 pounds and under should withstand three-times their unloaded weight.
Naturally, the additional strengthening is going to add weight, thus increasing fuel use – another hurdle automaker will have to overcome when striving to achieve new CAFE standards. The phase-in will begin in September 2012, with total compliance required for all new vehicles in 2017.
[Source: Detroit News]