News: Consolidator Report
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says
that new crash tests it conducted show that SUV bumpers that don’t line up with
those on regular cars can lead to huge repair bills in what should be minor
collisions in stop-and-go traffic.
In the tests, an SUV going 10 mph struck the back of its
paired car, which was stopped. Then the configuration was reversed, with the
car striking the back of its paired SUV. Results of these low-speed impacts
varied widely, from a total of $850 damage to one vehicle to $6,015 damage to
another. In some cases, the crash damage included major leaks from broken
radiators and cooling fans.
In a test where a Nissan Rogue struck the back of a
Nissan Sentra, the Sentra suffered $4,560 in rear damage, the highest among all
cars in the tests.
When a Ford Escape struck the rear of a Ford Focus, the
Focus suffered $3,386 in damage. When the Focus struck the back of the Escape,
damage to it amounted to $5,203.
In the Toyota Corolla-RAV4 test, damage came to nearly
$10,000 for the pair the highest combined damage among all the vehicle pairs
A federal standard requires that all cars have bumpers
that protect within a zone of 16 to 20 inches from the ground. This means car
bumpers line up reasonably well and are more likely to engage during low-speed
collisions to absorb energy and prevent damage. No bumper requirements apply to
SUVs, pickups or minivans, so these vehicles’ bumpers tend to be flimsier and
higher off the ground than bumpers on cars.
According to the IIHS, it petitioned the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in July 2008 to regulate bumpers on SUVs and
pickups the same as cars, and require them to match up in a way that shields
both vehicles from costly damage. In June 2009, NHTSA agreed to seek
comments on the petition but hasn’t moved forward with a rulemaking or a
low-speed compliance test for bumpers.