Automakers have universally met Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 226’s requirements with side curtain airbags, but a subset of vehicles are excluded from needing to comply at all. Among them, at least in NHTSA’s final rule for the standard, are cars with no doors or doors designed for easy removal, such as Jeep’s Wrangler SUV and related Gladiator pickup truck.
The problem? The published law for FMVSS 226 doesn’t actually contain such wording. Exempted vehicles in the standard include convertibles and heavy-duty models, as well as certain taxis and law-enforcement vehicles — but not cars with removable or missing doors.