Friday, October 10, 2008

U.S. auto regulators are delaying for a second time a tougher vehicle roof-strength standard to prevent highway deaths.

The new rule will be issued instead by Dec. 15, said Bill Adams, a Transportation Department spokesman.

The agency missed a July 1 deadline called for in the 2005 law.

“We must ensure that any final rules we issue are as successful as possible,” Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said in a statement.

“We need more time,” she said.

Public Citizen, the Center for Injury Research and the Center for Auto Safety have asked regulators to strengthen the rule.

The regulation as proposed would reduce only 476 deaths from the 10,500 attributed to rollover crashes each year, a standard 80 percent of automobiles already meet, the safety advocates say.

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