Mismatch of the front ends of the vehicles in this crash test is a problem. The SUV’s front-end energy-absorbing structure rides of the car’s. In a real crash, this could increase injury risks for the car occupants, which is why auto manufacturers have been committed since 2003 to designing the front ends of light trucks (SUVs and pickups) so their energy-absorbing structures overlap those of cars (see Status Report, Jan. 3, 2004; on the web at www.iihs.org).
“Compliance with these voluntary commitments already is making a difference, even though
automakers don’t have to ensure that all of their light trucks comply until the 2010 model year,” says former Institute president Brian O’Neill, lead author of a new study that quantifies the benefits of the commitments. Car driver death rates were lower — in some cases dramatically lower — during 2001-04 in front and side crashes with 2000-03 model SUVs and pickups that already met the automakers’ commitments, compared with car driver death rates in crashes with light trucks that didn’t.
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