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Risky Rides
KPHO Phoenix - News5

American automakers relish the popularity of SUV's and pick-ups and warn drivers of their rollover risk when appropriate. But experts say there is another hidden danger, inches above those riding inside.

A risk some insist Americans shouldn't be forced to take.

Former Ford Executive Peter Bertelson told CBS 5 News, "You can't admit there's something wrong with your bread and butter product."

We're talking about a phenomenon called "roof crush."

Safety expert Steve Forrest says, "The public just doesn't comprehend the issue and how much they're exposed to injury."

"The reality is the roof on the SUV is no better ,and sometimes worse than the roof on a passenger car. And yet it weighs maybe twice as much," says Steve Forrest.

And he should know - the Santa Barbara engineer and safety expert has conducted his own strength tests on SUV's like a stock Ford Explorer.

The end result of an explorer dropped from just 12 inches off the ground, was the loss of nine inches of headroom over the drivers seat... enough damage to cause serious injury.

Now compare that damage to a Ford Explorer that has the roof re-inforced by Forrest's team before being dropped from 12 inches above the ground.

Forrest says, "The roof has to be much stronger if your vehicle is much heavier. It's really that simple, and that's not the case with most SUV's."
Forrest says not only is there a correlation between roof strength and occupant safety...But auto manufacturers have known about it for more than 30 years.
Steve Forrest says, "When you look at the facts, they're just outrageous."
This 1968 Ford Motor Company memo obtained by the Five I-team clearly states "People are injuried by roof collapse. The total number of nationwide deaths and injuries cannot be estimated but it is a significant number."

According to the federal government, each year some seven-thousand people are killed or severly injured in rollovers where the roof collapses... Despite the numbers, the independant tests and internal memos, U-S Auto Manufacturers still refuse to PUBLICLY admit a correlation between the strength of a vehicle's roof, and the safety of those inside.General Motors tells the Five I-team, "The roof crush is not the primary cause of injury." According to Ford, "Simply strengthening the roof won't improve the safety of SUVs in rollovers." And DaimlerChrysler says it is "analyzing injury data related to rollovers and roof strength to better understand the mechanics of such injuries..." Not one of the big three would appear on camera.

Bertelson says, "They almost have to say that."

But what is most surprising to some, U-S auto manufacturers ARE producing vehicles with much stronger roofs - overseas. Consider the Volvo XC... an S-U-V with roof strength three-and-a-half times its weight. Volvo is a Ford subsidiary... one that is conducting more difficult strength tests than its u-s counteparts, and building to higher standards. So is Merecedes-Benz - - it's owned by DaimlerChrysler. Same goes for Opel - owned by G-M. They do it by using high-strength steel in key locations... like the "A-Pillar" and "Front Header..." modifications safety experts say can cost as little as 20-dollars per car.
Forrest says, "That 20 dollars a car is the price you'll pay for being a quadraplegic or not being a quadraplegic."

If you now have doubts about the safety of your roof, ask your dealer for hard data about the "strength-to-weight" ratio. If they tell you they "exceed federal standards"... our experts say that's not enough... instead you need a three-to-one ratio to adequately survive a rollover... Look for car makers who brag about survivability - and have the stats to back it up.

Full Uncut Article Here

 

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Just another great reason to purchase a car, and not an
SUV.
 

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Er.. how often does a vehicle get dropped straight down onto its roof from a foot?

Yes, in rollover situations, the roof is damaged, but not in such a blunt way. Really, all cars without built-in roll cages will suffer just as poorly from such a pointed test.
 

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Where in this article is any mention of Honda CR-V, Honda Element, Toyota highlander, Sequia. Armada.

When will the Media realize that the "BIG 3" are not the only ones making "unsafe" SUV's It seems the Imports get all the success of the SUV with none of the Negative Media. A Toyota Landcruiser Has the same fuel rating as a Escalade or H2 I don't see California Burning the Mercedes G-Class Bohemith. or giving the 4-Runner a rollover risk, As it's center of Gravity is higher then a Trailblazer. I belive the disparity amoing the quality is finnally being acknowleged, but what about the media. Toyota has commercials stating how fuel efficent there cars are. What about there gass guzzling "large as life" Tundra and Sequia, both which have fewer HP and the same or worse EPA ratings then the Silverado or Suburban.
 

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i drive a car. that car might crash. the roof might cave in. the engine might end up in my lap. the side-guard door beams might meet in the middle of the car and crush me. i've decide to stop worrying too much about it. some cars are safer than others, yes, but i'm fine with my ignorant belief that my car won't let me down if it decides to do a cartwheel into the ditch. happy motoring!
 

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Originally posted by 88montess@May 19 2004, 04:01 PM
Where in this article is any mention of Honda CR-V, Honda Element, Toyota highlander, Sequia. Armada.

When will the Media realize that the "BIG 3" are not the only ones making "unsafe" SUV's It seems the Imports get all the success of the SUV with none of the Negative Media. A Toyota Landcruiser Has the same fuel rating as a Escalade or H2 I don't see California Burning the Mercedes G-Class Bohemith. or giving the 4-Runner a rollover risk, As it's center of Gravity is higher then a Trailblazer. I belive the disparity amoing the quality is finnally being acknowleged, but what about the media. Toyota has commercials stating how fuel efficent there cars are. What about there gass guzzling "large as life" Tundra and Sequia, both which have fewer HP and the same or worse EPA ratings then the Silverado or Suburban.
I completely agree, this article, wherever it came from, is so pointedly anti-big 3 that it's pathetic. I wonder if all other countries bash their cars as bad as we bash ours.
 
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