From the dawn of the automotive age up until around the early 1970s, a windshield’s job was simple - keep rain and snow away from the car’s occupants.
In the mid-1970s, windshields took on a more active role adding structural integrity to the car’s body thereby increasing occupant safety. In the mid-1980s, the windshield served as an integral part of an airbag system, ensuring that the airbag was able to stay in front of the vehicle’s front-seat occupants mitigating injury. Today, the windshield not only protects occupants, but serves as a protective cover for front-facing cameras as part of the car’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). It becomes, in effect, a “second lens” that the camera must “look” through. So, it is imperative that the glass acuity be clear, precise and unobstructed – and that the camera is recalibrated upon the windshield’s replacement.
“In the past,” said glass industry consultant Bob Beranek, “glass and labor was cheap. A $300 windshield replacement was just a nuisance claim for an insurance company. Today, the replacement of a high-tech windshield with recalibration can be upwards of $1,000 or more. No wonder insurance companies are taking notice.”
Debra Levy, president of the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) located in Stafford, VA, has a positive outlook on the fast-changing world of auto glass replacement despite challenges created by the need to recalibrate ADAS systems after a windshield is replaced.
The AGSC was founded in the late 1990s when professionals from windshield manufacturers, car makers, adhesive companies, and auto glass retailers came together with the goal of defining auto glass safety. This group began the process of establishing a safety standard for the auto glass industry.
By 1999, AGSC had developed the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS) in partnership with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Since that time, many safety-conscious auto glass retailers have voluntarily agreed to follow the AGRSS Standard and have become AGSC members. The AGSC has provided the necessary standard for auto glass retailers to follow to make sure all precautions are taken to ensure driver and passenger safety.