Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Realistic Road Test to Assess Rollover Risk

October 6, 2003

After years of using a dry, mathematical formula to predict rollover risk, the government is adding a wheel-squealing road test in early October that is intended to give consumers more information about a vehicle'shandling capabilities, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.Automakers said the road test will reward thebest-handling vehicles in each class by highlighting performance measures the formula cannot assess, AP said.One example is stability control, a system that applies brakes to specific tires and decelerates if it senses a driver is veering off course. The government's auto-safetyagency is considering two road tests and will announce its decision Oct. 7, according to AP.In the future, the government's five-star rating system for rollover risk, as well as the mathematical formula approach, will factor in road-tests results, AP said.In one of the road tests, a vehicle is driven ina straight line at 60 mph and then abruptly turned. In the second, a vehicle is driven in a straight line at 50 mph, turned left, thensharply turned right, according to AP.The mathematical formula uses the vehicle's width and center of gravity to produce a rating. One star means a vehicle has a rollover risk of more than 40 percent; five stars mean a risk of less than 10 percent.Sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks are more top-heavy and tend to get lower marks under the mathematical approach, AP noted.
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