AGRR Magazine

Bloch Opines: Auto Industry Lags in Safety Glazing; Should Have Implemented Laminated Sidelites Years Ago

Noted auto safety expert Byron Bloch, keynote speaker for the 2006 AGRSS Conference, has appeared as an auto safety consultant on such television news programs as ABC News' "20/20," "Primetime Live" and "Nightline" as well as CBS News' "60 Minutes" and "Public Eye" and NBC News' "Dateline NBC." He has been a safety expert for 30 years, consulting and testifying in court cases regarding auto defects, and he is a court-qualified expert in auto safety design and vehicle crashworthiness and has testified at Congressional hearings and to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

He recently spoke with AGRR magazine about automotive safety and specifically the role of glass, addressing, among other things, the use of laminated and safety glazing in vehicles. The following is an excerpt from the interview, which will run in full in the next issue of AGRR.

AGRR: Where do you think in the near-term future the question of safety and glazing as well as overall safety in vehicles is going?

BB: When I say there is a lot to be done, let me say that I find it amazing that there is a 20 to 30 year gap between when a safety technology is feasible and able to be implemented and when it is in general use by vehicle manufacturers. One example is that in 1973 GM mass produced a fleet of 1,000 Chevy Impalas with airbags for the driver and front seat passenger. It was a dual-pressure system that inflated more softly in low speed crashes and more firmly in high-speed crashes in order to avoid risk to small children who might be on the front seat. I own one of those Impalas. That technology was installed and it was a marvelous technology for its time. It was withdrawal from the market after a short period and it was many years before airbags came back into our mass-produced vehicles. Imagine all the lives that were severely affected by this gap in time.

The industry is moving very quickly into side window glazing. It can and should have been done 20 or 30 years ago. Certainly it is commendable that laminated sidelites and backlites are being put into vehicles. I'm encouraging that this type of window be made standard equipment as soon as practicable in all vehicles. The combination of laminated side glazing in all passenger vehicles in conjunction with side curtain airbags will significantly decrease injury and death in side impact collisions and rollover accidents.

Your industry might want to take a look at the retrofit of these systems. Someone who has an older vehicle they intend to keep for a few years might want laminated sidelites in their vehicle. It would be good if they could have that glass replaced with laminated glass that fits into the same track as the tempered glass.

Bloch will give the keynote address at the AGRSS Conference on Wednesday, November 1 at 9:15 a.m. at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The AGRSS Conference runs concurrently with the Auto Glass Expo @ NACE and several other key auto glass industry events.

CLICK HERE for more information on the AGRSS Conference.

For more information about Byron Bloch and his work with automotive safety, visit his web site at

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