Critics Question Exponent's Laminated Glass Tests

Exponent is known to be aggressive in aiding its clients — that is, after all, what such outside expert and research firms are paid to do.

Stephen Batzer, an engineer and expert witness for plaintiffs who has dueled with Exponent's experts in court, claims the company sometimes goes too far to produce test results its clients want. EXPONENT'S RECORD: Company often works in defense of automakers An example he cites is its test comparing laminated and tempered glass in auto side windows. Laminated glass (two sheets of glass with a layer of plastic between) has long been required in windshields because the plastic layer acts as a safety net to keep heads inside in a crash. Some automakers have opposed moves to require the costlier ($25 a window) glass on side windows.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not mandated it, though it estimates 6,200 people die and 23,000 are injured annually by ejection from side windows.
 
It says it expects, however, automakers will use laminated glass along with improved side-curtain air bags to meet an ejection-prevention rule it proposed in December.
 
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