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Already known, but an important point is that it is not a "crash" standard that was waived.

The NHTSA's notice granting the petition can be read here:

For "safety" purposes, the most important part of the approval is in footnote number 3. Part 201 governs crash standards (see 49 CFR s 571.201, "§ 571.201 Standard No. 201; Occupant protection in interior impact. S.1. Purpose and scope. This standard specifies requirements to afford impact protection for occupants.") and the Elise complies.

These are excerpts from the sections for which temporary exemptions were granted:

FMVSS Part 108, paragraph S7, relates to Federal lighting standards:

"S7. Headlighting requirements. S7.1 Each passenger car, multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck, and
bus manufactured on or after September 1, 1994, shall be equipped with a headlighting system designed to conform to the requirements of S7.3, S7.4, S7.5, or S7.6.").

FMVSS Part 581 relates to bumper standards:

"581.1 Scope. This standard establishes requirements for the impact resistance of vehicles in low speed front and rear collisions.

581.2 Purpose.
The purpose of this standard is to reduce physical damage to the front and rear ends of a passenger motor vehicle from low speed collisions.

581.3 Application.
This standard applies to passenger motor vehicles other than multipurpose passenger vehicles and low-speed vehicles as defined in 49 CFR part 571.3(b)."


I'm hoping to head-off the "Elise is a death-trap and unsafe in any crash" threads/rumours from starting-up again.

12,374 Posts
zvezdah1 said:
The bumper standards in the US are NOT for passenger safety, merely to reduce the amount of damage at 2.5(?) mph.
Another point to make is that above 2.5 MPH, the bumpers, etc often are expensive to repair/replace. Lotus pointed out in their request for exemption that the costs of repair of the Elise is comparable to the repair of a typical "high end" luxury car. I'm assuming that this means Lexus, Acura, etc. and not Rolls...

In any case for most cars, for crashes less than 2.5 MPH, the bumpers may save some money. For most (all?) cars, at speeds above 2.5 MPH, the bumpers cost money...

Tim Mullen
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