This article addresses perceived incompatibilities between cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) by analyzing data from National Highway Transportation Safety Administrations Fatal Accident Reporting System. It first looks at the issue of crash incompatibility and how it as affected by self protection and vehicle design characteristics. Larger and heavier vehicles, along with good crumple zones, strong occupant compartments, and state-of-the-art restraint systems, play a key role in how well a vehicle protects its occupants. SUVs are higher off the ground and have stiffer front ends, and this can lead to greater risks for occupants of cars that collide with SUVs. Statistics reveal, however, that while SUVs and pickup trucks may pose greater risks than cars, more occupant deaths occur in single-vehicle crashes than in collisions with SUVs. front versus side impacts and newer versus older vehicles. It notes that in general, improvements such as better self protection in cars, the usage of seat belts, and driver airbags have led to a reduction in occupant death rates, suggesting that crash incompatibility is a somewhat lesser problem than it was ten years ago. The article concludes with a look at how automakers are addressing vehicle incompatibilities in front and side impacts. A multi-phased voluntary commitment program by participating manufacturers is focusing on the following areas: 1) options and performance requirements for head protection; 2) performance criteria for thorax, abdomen and other body regions; 3) enhancements to structural interaction between vehicles in front-to-side impacts; 4) design of SUVs and pickups according to one of two energy-absorbing geometric alignment options; 5) a protocol for dynamic testing of vehicle front ends; and, 6) tests to determine appropriate front-end stiffness characteristics for larger passenger vehicles and pickups.


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01001747
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: HSL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 7 2005 12:00AM