• Feb 6, 2009
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has commissioned a study that seems to indicate that a dramatic increase in roof safety is in order. The group's resulting newly proposed standards would require a vehicle's roof to withstand two-times the specific vehicle's weight. According to the IIHS, this change could reduce the risk of fatalities in a single vehicle rollover by more than 20%.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also supports the tougher standards, though the Bush Administration had allowed three separate deadlines to pass without updating its requirements, which have remained the same since they were first instituted in 1973. Those initial rules standards require that the roof of a vehicle be capable of withstanding 1.5 times the vehicle weight.

So far, automakers have supported this standard, although they are requesting that the new requirements for roof strength be phased in gradually, partially over concerns of rising vehicle weight that negatively impacts fuel economy.

[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 32 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      One side of me says wtf, now they want to add more weight on one hand while increasing fuel economy on the other.

      The other side of me says the math is simple, make the car lighter in the first place and the roof will have to sustain less weigh to pass these tests.

      The government is forcing automakers to make smaller and lighter cars, our choices will soon be very limited without some very large strides in composites technology, which the automakers can't fund because they are selling half the cars they were 2 years ago.

      I think the old government needs to seriously consider aiding in the funding of technology for all US based OEMs to make the standards they keep setting, otherwise another country will do so and put us right out of the carmaking business alltogether, just like we've been forced out of just about every other manufacturing business.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wouldn't the stability control mandate do more good than increasing roof standards for rollovers?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are probably right. increasing metal mass up high ironically would lead to...more rollovers? Just give us self-driving cars, already!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just make everyone drive a tank. Come on! With seatbelts and airbags 99% of accidents are survivable. I know what your motivation is. You want to make owning an auto so expensive the common people will have to use mass transit.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Top heavy cars with even thicker pillars for worse visibility.

      Great.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thicker pillars are my complaint too! I wonder how many more pedestrian deaths will result from drivers not seeing them behind the massive pillars? It's hard enough to see out of most modern cars as it is.

        And what does this mean for convertibles? More automatic pop-up roll bars with more weight, complication, and space waste?
      • 5 Years Ago
      That XC90 is just about as safe as you can get in roll-overs. Including other Volvo's, me speaking from first hand experience! A lot of manufactures don't go the extra mile like Volvo and just build cars to meet standards and perform well in testing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      IIHS can't raise standards. They can just give less "stars" for cars that don't meet their standard. They are not a government agency.

      Their goal is to try and get Automakers to make cars that are cheaper to fix after a crash, so the insurance companies can make more profit. That's it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        100% agree that it is to benefit insurance companies. How come old cars aren`t sent to the crusher immediately because they`re obviously "unsafe" according to the IIS and the NHTSA. If I want to drive a no star safety vehicle, one should be available.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Level: You speak as if we lived in a country that made sound decisions....

      If anything:
      * make the written test harder
      * make it ENGLISH ONLY (I cant stand idiots slowing down at each intersection trying to make out the street name, and them comparing it to what they have written on a piece of paper)
      * actual driving test needs to have a road course
      * anyone above the age of 70 should have to take the driving road course every 18 months for renewal.

      But if i were president, and tried to push those rules through, id have the ACLU and all the other groups who make this country worse on my ass.
      • 5 Years Ago
      JHC! It isn't a little extra/better steel in the A/B/C pillars that has made cars balloon in weight like they have- it have been unbridled willingness to buy more and more content. Ooh, look 7 year financing- let me throw another 8 grand of f'n useless options in this thing- power everything? guess what- that s't is heavy. Cooled seats? right again. 20" wheels- gotta have those (and no, they usually don't handle better) Oh- now I need bigger brakes to stop the whole mess. Don't foget, I'd like my family sedan to have 380hp too, best with AWD. THAT is what makes cars heavy. It takes only a few pounds of steel to accomplish this, at almost no cost to the consumer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have to be doing something really stupid to get my car to roll over. In fact you pretty much have to be doing something pretty stupid to get any car to roll over. Even SUVs take a lot to flip on thier back.

      The best way to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities is to institute a much harder driving test. Not a harder written test but a truly hard track test. This way you would get a lot of bad drivers off the road.

      The true fact is that most accidents are caused by bad drivers who should never have a license in the first place. People with no driving skill that scare the crap out of me every day.

      It also does not matter how safe vehicles become, insurance rates won't go down. There is no real competition in auto insurance just like there is no real competition in banks. they all collude together to force people into paying more.

      I have never been in an accident or made a claim ever. Yet I still must pay the same rate as a person who has had a clear record for 3 years. I am forced to pay a higher rate because I am a man or because my car looks sporty. It has nothing to do with the individual. I should pay $20 a month. Every cent I pay is pure profit for the insurance company. I am forced by law to give up income and I don't even get to write off the expense.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is ridiculous. Most rollovers occur when a driver looses control of the car and goes off the road. In many of those cases, the rollover is caused by a driver getting into a situation that is beyond their (very poor) skill to recover from. Rollovers could be significantly reduced if we improved driver education in this country.

      Instead we just force the cars to get heavier, more expensive, and more wasteful (fuel economy AND raw materials) while forcing the already troubled automakers to spend more money to meet government regulations.

      All in the name of making sure Americans can continue to be comfortable in their own stupidity and ignorance.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Amen. Freeze auto safety standards for ten years, and spend a decade focusing on improving the drivers. See what happens.
      • 5 Years Ago
      IIHS research shows what we've always expected -- that there is a strong correlation between roof strength and fatality risk in rollover crashes. In order to earn the top rating of good in our roof strength test, vehicles will have to meet a roof-strength-to weight ratio of 4.0. That's significantly higher than the current federal regulatory SWR of 1.5. However, it's important to note that many modern vehicles far exceed the existing weak federal standard. In fact, the government has assessed the roof strength of some 2009 models and found that several already meet or exceed the new IIHS requirement of 4.0. These vehicles include the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta, and Volvo XC90.
      • 5 Years Ago
      And the cars get even heavier...
        • 5 Years Ago
        BMW isn't a great example of auto manufacturers really pushing forward on light weight. The six series is 4000 pounds. Shaving a hundred or so pounds off that still leaves you with a car that's a few hundred pounds heavier than it ought to be. Also, have you sat in one? The A-pillars on a 6 series are so huge you could lose a motorcycle behind them. I usually prefer cars where I don't have blind spots in front of me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And, that weight is high up in the vehicle making it slightly more top heavy.
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