Over the years, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been working to create a standard for vehicle stability when it comes to light trucks – anything ranging from pick-up trucks, minivans and SUVs. In 2003, 281,000 vehicles rolled over – 20 percent resulted in fatalities and 170,000 resulted in injuries.
After years of being unsuccessful in creating a vehicle standard for rollovers, it was determined to include a brightly-colored label affixed to the sun visor on the driver’s side stating: “Warning! Higher Rollover Risk;” “Avoid Abrupt Maneuvers and Excessive Speed;” “Always Buckle Up” and depicted a vehicle tipping and a belted occupant. (see photo) In 2000, the NHTSA began the process of adding a rollover rating to new cars.
The five-star rating system would award one star to vehicles with a rollover risk of 40 percent or greater and would award five stars to vehicles with a rollover risk of less than 10 percent. Most recently, the NHTSA’s fatality statistics showed that 10,816 people died in rollover motor vehicle accidents in 2004 – about the same number as in 1999. But vehicles are becoming more stable. The latest crop of cross-over SUVs shows that this class of vehicle is becoming less like a truck and more like a passenger car. Read the whole article on Rollover/Stability from the Safety Research & Strategies, Inc.