The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a report last week that shows stronger SUV roofs could have prevented many unnecessary deaths and injuries in auto accidents. The institute estimates that people in SUVs with the strongest roofs face up to 57% less risk of serious injury or death in a single-vehicle rollover than those in other SUVs.
The Nissan Xterra was the top-rated SUV for roof strength, while the 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee was rated as having the weakest among those tested. These findings are consistent with arguments that Plaintiffs lawyers have been making for years regarding the safety of SUV occupants in roll over accidents.
About 35% of deaths to occupants in car crashes involve rollovers, which was more than 10,500 people in 2006. Those deaths could have been reduced by one-third with stronger SUV roofs, according to the study.