May 6, 2004

Canada strengthens crash test requirements

Ottawa, Ontario – Transport Canada has strengthened its crash test requirements for fuel systems on Canadian vehicles to further protect vehicle occupants from fuel spillage in the event of a collision.

The amendments to the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) 301, which were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, will increase the crash test requirements for fuel systems in rear-impact and side-impact tests. Previously, CMVSS 301 required vehicles to withstand a rear-end collision of 48 kilometres per hour without spilling a dangerous amount of fuel, i.e., 28 grams of fuel or more per minute. The new requirement increases the speed of the collision to 80 kilometres per hour. Similarly, the testing requirement for side-impact collisions has increased to 53 kilometres per hour, from 32 kilometres per hour. The maximum permissible fuel leakage remains the same.

Transport Canada’s policy is to harmonize its motor vehicle standards, where appropriate, with United States standards whenever they offer improved safety for Canadians. Transport Canada reviewed research carried out in the United States on crash test requirements and is confident that increasing crash testing standards would improve safety. The new standards were introduced in the United States last December.

Automakers have until September 1, 2009 to meet the new requirements.

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