ARCCA Petition for Rulemaking on NHTSA Seating System Regulations, FMVSS 207

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.


Alan Cantor of ARCCA submitted a petition to NHTSA in 1989 recommending improved seating to protect occupants during rear impacts. The NHTSA accepted the petition, held it for a number of years, and then eventually did nothing to change the standard.

Since 1989, hardly a day passes that we are not faced with an issue related to seat failure in a rear‑end crash and the resultant serious injury that such a failure causes. As automotive seating and restraint experts here at ARCCA, we have been involved in hundreds of seat back failure litigation cases, the vast majority of which have settled prior to trial.

In conjunction with our work on these cases, we have had the opportunity to review seat strength data from various auto makers and have also been involved in conducting a variety of both static and dynamic tests on failing seats, as well as on seats that can withstand the types of forces typically seen in today’s passenger vehicles that are involved in rear‑end crashes. In addition, we have seen both the published and non-published research and data from many others, including most vehicle manufacturers. What is clear from all of this is that automotive seats are more than just “chairs” to allow people to comfortably drive cars or for passengers to be transported in luxury — seats are also safety devices that provide restraint.   In a rear‑end crash, the seat back should afford the same kind of protection to the user that a seat belt provides in a frontal impact.

ARCCA seating and restraint experts have recently petitioned the NHTSA again to upgrade the standards for automotive seating to include a crash requirement for vehicular seating.

Click here to view the ARCCA petition

CBS News Sunday Morning: NHTSA standards fail to protect from car seat fatalities, experts say

Petition Acknowledgment from NHTSA