No one likes to read about death and collisions and mind-numbing safety statistics, except when it’s good news. In this case, the IIHS has revealed that SUV’s are now safer to other motorists in collisions, and they have a bunch of graphs and figures to prove it.
In 2003, the Federal Government met with automakers to discuss SUV-caused fatalities to passenger car occupants. The result was an agreed-upon mandate by 2009 that would help to improve safety in SUV and passenger car collisions. One of the key features from those talks was support for passenger head safety, since crash tests showed that the hoods from taller SUV’s and trucks often impacted the heads of passengers in lower cars.
The automakers addressed this concern by lowering the impact points on SUV’s and trucks such that potential impacts with smaller cars were less likely to result in the bigger vehicle overriding the smaller one. This, and the inclusion of top-side, curtain-like impact airbags, has made SUV’s and trucks safer than ever to other motorists. And although these changes were mandated by 2009, the IIHS notes that many manufacturers incorporated these changes into their models as early as 2004.
The IIHS graphs look great, but we’re not statisticians. Fortunately, the IIHS also released a video that does a very good job explaining the improvements for those who don’t speak math, and like us, who need visual input.