SUVs Score Poor in Rollover Tests
According to the Associated Press, sport utility vehicles performed poorly in the latest round of rollover tests released May 20. In fact, none received the government's highest safety rating. When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released rollover ratings recently for 14 sport utility vehicles from the 2003 model year, most got three stars or below out of five stars from the agency, said the AP. AP reported that GM spokesman Jim Schell said NHTSA's rollover ratings are flawed because the agency uses a mathematical formula, based on vehicle height and weight, rather than a moving test to calculate rollover risk. He also said NHTSA fails to take into account stability control systems, which are an option on many SUVs. “GM doesn't feel that this is a good indication of real-world stability,” Schell said, according to the AP. But, says the AP, NHTSA spokesman Tim Hurd defended the test, saying the agency believes it is a good predictor of vehicle performance. He added that NHTSA plans to abandon the mathematical formula later this year in favor of a new, moving test that will show how the vehicle responds to sharp turns.