IIHS Rates Vehicles Based on Roof Strength and Rollover Protection
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is launching a new rating system for vehicle roof strength to help consumers pick vehicles that will protect them during rollover crashes. According to an article in the Auto Channel, IIHS put 12 small sport utility vehicles to the test first and out of these 12 SUVs, only four earned a “good” rating. The Kia Sportage received the worst or weakest roof rating among the 2008-2009 models tested by the Institute and the Volkswagen Tiguan had the strongest rated roof. IIHS’ recent research demonstrated the fact that stronger roofs can protect vehicle occupants much better in the event of a rollover crash. The Institute determined that vehicles rated good must have roofs that are more than twice as strong as the minimum required by federal safety standards.
Here’s a break-up of how the 12 SUVs tested by IIHS fared:
“Good” rating: Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester, Honda Element and Jeep Patriot.
“Acceptable” rating: Suzuki Grand Vitara, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander
“Marginal” rating: Honda CR-V, Ford Escape
“Poor” rating: Kia Sportage
The IIHS embarked on these tests because inadequate federal roof strength standards fail to give consumers a true picture of what is available in the market. We are still waiting for a federal roof strength ruling to replace an outdated standard that has not been modified for the last 35 years. That weak standard has basically allowed auto makers to get away with manufacturing vehicles with weak and unsafe roofs. In a rollover accident, these roofs cave in on the vehicle’s occupants causing catastrophic and fatal injuries. Bisnar | Chase has represented numerous victims of SUV rollover crashes over the years. Bisnar|Chase has also conducted independent tests at our own expense, which clearly showed that many sport utility vehicles were nothing but death traps because they lacked roof strength.