New safety ratings issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2007 model year SUVs reveal the former deathtraps are now much less likely to suffer from a rollover at high speed. Rollovers account for 10,000 deaths in the U.S. every year, which is 30% of all vehicle related deaths in the country despite rollovers accounting for only 3% off all crashes.

The ratings describe the likelihood of an SUV entering a rollover and are ranked on a scale of five stars, five being the safest. The latest findings show that more than half of the 2007 model-year SUVs scored a four-star rating in the rollover tests, compared with just one model back in 2001. One of the new features that have lead to the improved safety levels is electronic stability control, now standard on 86% of new SUVs.

Pickup trucks fared even better than SUVs, with 74 out of the 89 vehicles tested scoring a four star rating. Surprisingly, no SUV or pickup has ever scored a five star rating in these particular safety tests.

[Source: Detroit News]

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