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U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces First Rollover Resistance Ratings

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces First Rollover Resistance Ratings

NHTSA
January 9, 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NHTSA 2-01
Tuesday, January 9, 2001
Contact: Rae Tyson Telephone: 202-366-9550

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced the first rollover resistance ratings for passenger vehicles as the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized a rating program that provides consumers with a measure of a vehicle's resistance to rolling over in a single vehicle crash.

"By providing consumers with information about the comparative rollover risk of various types of vehicles, they will be better able to choose a safe vehicle for themselves and their family," Secretary Slater said. "We expect these ratings to drive improved safety, which is President Clinton and Vice President Gore's highest transportation priority. By providing consumers with additional information, we can motivate manufacturers to respond with safer, more stable vehicles."

The program gives "star" ratings for rollover resistance as part of the agency's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). The highest rating is five stars; the lowest is one star. The ratings released today are for model year 2001 vehicles.

More than 10,000 people die every year in rollover crashes, according to NHTSA. Over 60 percent of the sport utility vehicle (SUV) occupants killed in 1999 died in crashes when their vehicle rolled over, compared to 23 percent for car occupants.

NHTSA Administrator Dr. Sue Bailey stated the importance of these ratings to consumers when shopping for safety. She said that with the rollover resistance ratings, NHTSA is providing consumers with information about one of the deadliest types of crashes.

NHTSA expects motivated manufacturers will respond to consumer demand for safer, more stable vehicles. In 1979 when NCAP ratings for frontal crashes began, just 33 percent of vehicles achieved a four- or five-star rating. By 1997, 85 percent had received four or five stars.

Bailey emphasized that the best consumer advice about rollover is the dramatic effect of seat belts. "Your best chance of surviving a rollover is by buckling up. Eighty percent of the people killed in single vehicle rollovers were unbelted, and we know that belted occupants are about 75 percent less likely to be killed in a rollover crash than unbelted occupants," Bailey said.

The Rollover Resistance Rating is an estimate of the risk of rolling over if a person has a single vehicle crash, usually when the vehicle runs off the road and is tripped by a curb, ditch or soft soil. It does not predict the likelihood of that crash. The Rollover Resistance Rating is based on "static stability factor," a measure of a vehicle's center of gravity and track width to determine how "top-heavy" the vehicle is. The more "top-heavy" the vehicle, the more likely it is to roll over. The lowest-rated vehicles (one star) are at least four times more likely to roll over than the highest-rated vehicles (five stars). Here is the five star rating system:

In a single vehicle crash, a vehicle with a rating of:

Five Stars - Five Star Has a risk of rollover of less than 10 percent
Four Stars - Four Star Has a risk of rollover between 10 percent and 20 percent
Three Stars - Three Star Has a risk of rollover between 20 percent and 30 percent
Two Stars - Two Star Has a risk of rollover between 30 percent and 40 percent
One Star - One Star Has a risk of rollover greater than 40 percent

Among the first vehicles rated, only one, the Honda Accord, received five stars. All of the other passenger cars rated to date received four stars. In addition, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Honda Odyssey, Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab 4x2, and the GMC Sierra Extended Cab 4x2 received a four star rating. One vehicle, the Ford Focus, has Electronic Stability Control, a device which does not affect the Rollover Resistance Rating directly but may reduce the likelihood of a single vehicle crash, and thus, the risk of subsequent rollover. NHTSA will note vehicles equipped with Electronic Stability Control in all future Rollover Resistance Ratings announcements.

The agency expects to issue rollover resistance ratings for more than 80 Model Year 2001 vehicles by April of 2001. Ratings will be posted on the NHTSA web site http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ as they become available. The first set of ratings for model year 2001 vehicles follows:

Model Year 2001 Rollover Resistance Ratings

Vehicle Model Tested Rollover Resistance Rating
 
2001 Light Passenger Cars (2000-2499 lbs. curb weight)
Ford Focus 4DR(1) 4 stars
 
2001 Compact Passenger Cars (2500-2999 lbs. curb weight)
Chevrolet Cavalier 4DR 4 stars
Honda Civic 4DR 4 stars
Pontiac Sunfire 4DR 4 stars
Volkswagen Jetta 4DR 4 stars
 
2001 Medium Passenger Cars (3000-3499 lbs. curb weight)
Chevrolet Impala 4DR 4 stars
Ford Taurus 4DR 4 stars
Honda Accord 4DR 5 stars
Mercury Sable 4DR 4 stars
 
2001 Sport Utility Vehicles
Chevrolet Blazer 4DR 4x2 1 star
4 DR 4x4 2 stars
Chevrolet Suburban 4x4 3 stars
Chevrolet Tahoe 4DR 4x4 3 stars
Chevrolet Tracker 4DR 4x2 3 stars
4DR 4x4 3 stars
Ford Expedition 4x2 2 stars
Ford Explorer 4x4 2 stars
GMC Jimmy/Envoy 4DR 4x2 1 star
4 DR 4x4 2 stars
GMC Yukon 4DR 4x4 3 stars
GMC Yukon XL 4x4 3 stars
Honda CR-V 4x4 3 stars
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 2 stars
Lincoln Navigator 4x2 2 stars
Mercury Mountaineer 4x4 2 stars
Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4x4 2 stars


Oldsmobile Bravada
4 DR 4x4 2 stars
   
Suzuki Vitara 4DR 4x2 3 stars
4DR 4x4 3 stars
 
2001 Light Trucks
Chevrolet S-10 4x2 3 stars
4x4 3 stars
Chevrolet Silverado ExCab 4x2 4 stars
ExCab 4x4 3 stars
Ford F-150 4x4 3 stars
GMC Sierra ExCab 4x2 4 stars
ExCab 4x4 3 stars
GMC Sonoma 4x2 3 stars
4x4 3 stars
Isuzu Hombre 4x2 3 stars
4x4 3 stars
 
2001 Vans
Honda Odyssey   4 stars
Mazda MPV   3 stars
Chrysler PT Cruiser 4DR 4 stars

Understanding The Star Rating For Rollover Crashes


1. Electronic Stability Control available as an option



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