The issue of roof safety in American automobiles has been largely ignored by the federal government for years. As a result, we have seen unacceptably low roof crush standards, continual delays and inaction by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to increase those low standards, out-of-date and unrealistic roof crush tests, and even the suppression of rollover test videos. In 2006, the U.S. Consumer watchdog group Public Citizen published results of dynamic roof crush tests comparing the performance of a Volvo XC90 and a Ford Explorer in realistic rollovers.
American roof crush standards have not changed since that time and unfortunately those results are as valid today as they were in 2006. The tests were performed on the Jordan Rollover System (JRS) and were sponsored by the Santo Family Foundation. The test was not conducted by NHTSA because the government measures roof strength with a “static crush” test, in which a slow moving metal plate bears down on the automobile. An automobile’s roof passes if the roof can withstand one times the vehicle’s weight worth of pressure. The more realistic JRS test simulated a multiple rollover. The maximum intrusion on the Volvo’s roof was 2.6 inches and peak roof intrusion velocity was less than four miles per hour. Its dummy occupants escaped serious injury in multiple rollovers.
But, the Ford and its occupants didn’t fare so well. Maximum roof intrusion on the Explorer was 11.5 inches and peak roof intrusion velocity was 12 mph, exceeding the known thresholds for death and serious injury. Its occupants were severely injured. Because of the Explorer’s poor performance, Ford sought and received protective orders in 24 courts. The protective orders effectively concealed the test video from the public. Now, however, the results of these tests are available to the public.
Thus far, the JRS test results mirror actual known rollover crashes of various vehicles. Vehicles that perform poorly in the JRS have been shown to perform poorly in real life. Recently, the NHTSA announced its latest delay in issuing new and improved roof crush safety standards, saying that the time isn’t right for the automobile manufacturing industry to have to raise its standards. This is the latest in a long series of delays, and will effectively toss the responsibility to the next Administration. After more than three decades of playing games with safety, it’s a perfect time for better, safer American cars. The domestic car companies are asking the federal government to bail them out and that should happen. It’s only right that these companies start making cars that the public wants, but they should also be made for safety as well as performance.
Source: Public Citizen
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.