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Automotive Safety Regulation
Glass for Europe closely follows regulatory work involving the existing EU Directive 92/22/EEC, UN Regulation 43 and the Global Technical Regulation 6, which lay down requirements, test methods and conformity assessment for automotive glass.
It is Glass for Europe's view that national certification schemes should be avoided, especially in cases where the new schemes present only minor differences compared to Regulation R43 but impose an additional administrative and financial cost. Considering that the car market is truly worldwide, it makes no sense that each country imposes extra tests and certifications above those agreed on an international basis.
The EU's Directive on vehicle safety glazing is based on a single-market legal footing, the main justification for the legislation having been the need to eliminate any barriers to trade that might result from requirements concerning automotive glazing that differed from one EU Member State to another.
The Directive covers not only the automotive glazing products themselves but also the fitting of these parts to vehicles.
The official text of the Directive is here.
Regulation R43 was published in 1981 by the United Nations in Geneva. Its aim was to replace the different standards existing in Europe. Since then, thirty-two countries have signed the Agreement.
The purpose of the Regulation is to define which type of test should be carried out and which test outcome should be obtained in order to verify that the glazing limits physical injuries to passengers. The glazing should exhibit a resistance that is strong enough to avoid injuries that may occur under normal traffic conditions and use. It should also resist to atmospheric agents, weathering and abrasion.
The Regulation also aims to check light transmission. The windscreen should not cause any major optical distortion of objects.
These tests are compulsory. They are usually performed in a laboratory that is officially recognised by the Transport Department of the country where approval is requested. The glass producer has to carry out regular conformity of production controls at a fixed frequency. The authorities check these controls twice a year.
The increasingly interconnected global economy requires a shared set of standards and specifications. The system of Global Technical Regulations (GTRs) under the auspices of the UN aims to address this need.
A new GTR, GTR 6, on automotive safety glazing was officially adopted in 2009. Countries and economic areas are now expected to transpose its requirements in order to reach effective worldwide harmonization. Glass for Europe cooperates with EU authorities for the transposition of the GTR 6 into EU legislation.
As an integral and structural part of a car, glass needs to undergo multiple certification and homologation processes to ensure it complies with the safety requirements outlined at global (UNECE) and European level. The testing regimes carried out on the light transmittance, durability, strength and optical qualities of glass are extremely rigorous and paramount to ensure safety and comfort in a car. The testing is not only carried out during the development phase, but at each stage of manufacture to maintain the highest standards. All types of glass are then type approved by an authorised agency.
Moreover, whether for the original or replacement market, automotive glass always bears a marking that allows the identification of the type of glass, the manufacturer, the series, as well as the type approval by the competent authority. This ensures an extra protection against counterfeiting and guarantees traceability down to the automotive processing plant and glass-making plant. As such, it contributes to safeguarding the high safety standards for users.