(ARA) – Windshield replacement safety, an issue often overlooked by American motorists, has now drawn the attention and support of one of the country’s most recognized consumer advocates.
In early November, Ralph Nader called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a consumer advisory on “the importance of windshield integrity, the relationship to roof strength and rollover crashes, proper replacement procedures and the AGRSS (Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard) standard and to use AGRSS registered shops” to create a more informed motoring public.
“We welcome Mr. Nader’s interest, and support his call for the federal government to issue a consumer advisory,” says Leo Cyr, vice president, auto glass division of the National Glass Association, and executive director of the association’s Coalition for Auto Glass Safety and Public Awareness (CASPA). “More than 10 million Americans replace damaged windshields every year without giving a thought to the skill of the person replacing their windshield.”
In a 2004 survey of consumers by CASPA, 82 percent of respondents cited windshield safety as important, but no one could identify even one of the crucial roles the windshield plays in a vehicle’s safety system. In fact, modern automobile design relies heavily on the windshield for structural roof support during a rollover crash. The windshield is also critical in proper airbag deployment. Improper replacement of a windshield can also cause the glass to detach from the vehicle in a crash, allowing occupants to be ejected from the passenger compartment.
Nader’s letter to the NHTSA’s acting director, Jacqueline Glassman, states “… motorists should be assured that the roof strength of a vehicle on the road today is not unnecessarily compromised as the result of a windshield replacement.”
“Dangerous shortcuts” such as “inappropriate adhesive applications, shortened drive-away times and improper glass handling techniques” result in “an unknown number of weak windshield installations which will not even protect occupants from the first impact in the first half roll,” Nader’s letter says.
Although investigative media reports have documented unsafe windshield replacements, “accurate estimates of injuries due to deficient windshield installation are unavailable due to the highly specific nature of this uncollected data,” Nader states.
“No one knows precisely how often replaced windshields fail in crashes,” Cyr affirms. “What we do know is unsafe windshield replacement is a risk factor that could be eliminated through greater consumer awareness. When consumers know they have reason to be concerned that their windshield be replaced properly and professionally, they will use that knowledge to recognize and reject service providers who use the ‘dangerous shortcuts’ to which Mr. Nader refers.”
The National Glass Association recommends two quick steps to increase your windshield safety awareness. First, read the industry’s Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard at www.safewindshields.com . Second, select an auto glass replacement company that follows the AGRSS standard and offers technicians certified by NGA. For help finding a certified technician in your area, or additional information on windshield replacement safety, visit either www.myautoglass.org or www.glass.org, or call toll free 1-800-myautoglass. Courtesy of ARA Content
Founded in 1948, the National Glass Association is the largest trade association representing the automotive and architectural glass industry. Based outside Washington, DC, NGA offers certification, education, and training and serves the industry with the leading trade publications-Glass Magazine, Window & Door, and AutoGlass. In addition, NGA serves the industry and general public with its Web sites: www.glass.org, www.GlassBuildAmerica.com, www.GlassMagazine.net, www.AutoGlassmagazine.net, www.WindowandDoor.net, and www.myautoglass.org. NGA also hosts the industry's premier annual trade events: GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo and the National Auto Glass Conference & EXPO.