Rollover Collisions Kill 10,000—Is Your Vehicle Safe?

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Rollovers kill more than 10,000 motorists in the United States each year. Studies have found that SUVs have a higher likelihood of rollover than other vehicles. However, the good news is that progress has been made and you can feel safer in choosing an SUV as your family vehicle.

The government says sport utility vehicles are making strides to avoid rollovers, noting that 7 in 10 new SUVs are equipped with rollover-reducing electronic stability control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released rollover results for 2006 vehicles Tuesday, finding that 39 SUVs earned four-star ratings. SUVs have shown steady improvements in the testing; two dozen SUVs received four stars last year and only one SUV tested that well in 2001. No SUV earned a top, five-star rating. The results — available at http://www.safercar.gov — are used by consumers to assess a vehicle’s ability to reduce rollover.

Electronic stability control is an anti-rollover system in which brakes are automatically applied when the vehicle begins skidding, helping to steady the vehicle. The government’s traffic safety agency said 69% of all SUVs from the 2006 model year offered the technology as standard equipment, a significant jump from 43% of 2005 SUVs with standard stability control. The new technology is estimated to save 6,000 to 7,000 lives a year.

Newly tested SUVs that received four stars included the Chevrolet HHR, the Honda Pilot, the Toyota RAV4, the Subaru B9 Tribeca, the Hyundai Tucson, the Mercedes-Benz ML Class, the Suzuki Grand Vitara and 4×4 versions of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer. Among top-scoring SUVs, the HHR had a 14% chance of rollover and 4×4 versions of the Pilot had a 15% chance of rollover.

The 4×4 version of the Nissan XTerra had a 25% chance of rollover, the highest percentage among the new SUVs tested. The 4×2 version of the XTerra, the 4×2 Chevrolet Tahoe and Hummer H3 had a 24% chance of rollover. Those vehicles received three stars.

Among passenger cars, the Pontiac G6 and the Buick Lucerne were the only vehicles to receive five stars. The eight-passenger Chevrolet Express 1500 van was the only new vehicle that tipped over in testing; it received three stars and had a 28% chance of rollover. The Ford E350 XLT Super Duty van received two stars and had a 30% chance of rollover.

Under the ratings system, a vehicle with five stars has a rollover risk of less than 10% and a four-star vehicle has a 10% to 20% risk. Three-star vehicles have a 20% to 30% risk. NHTSA is expected to issue a proposal this year specifying performance criteria for stability control. Government studies have found stability control reduces single-vehicle sport utility crashes by 67% and one-car crashes by 35% compared with the same models sold in previous years without the technology.

At Florida Trial MD, we have seen the devastation of rollover accidents and we applaud these life-saving innovations. Stability control technology gives you and your family more protection. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us online or call 407-244-1212 or Toll Free at 800-381-8299 for your Free Consultation now.

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