SUV Occupants More Likely to Die in Accidents

You surely already know that SUVs pollute the air, contribute to global warming, boost demand for oil, and shackle our security and economic fate to volatile, politically regressive Middle Eastern states. You might even know that SUVs raise the total number of traffic fatalities and squash drivers of smaller vehicles in crashes. But did you know that SUVs are more likely to kill their own occupants? According to new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an SUV occupant in 2003 was nearly 11 percent more likely to die in a traffic accident than an occupant of a smaller car. Much of the difference is due to the propensity of SUVs to roll over — a consequence of the high ground clearance they need to navigate the steep, rocky, debris-ridden slopes so common in the nation’s suburbs. Yet, perversely, SUVs are subject to lower safety standards — as well as pollution and fuel-economy standards — than normal cars.