March 03, 2003

Get your vehicle out of my face

In the Debate on S.U.V.’s, There’s a New Casualty Count - In which a lobbyist forgets to mention that “in some cases” means “when monkeys fly out of my butt”:

Last Wednesday, before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on S.U.V. safety, the industry's top lobbying group held a pre-emptive news conference on the subject. "S.U.V.'s are as safe as cars and in some cases safer than cars," said Josephine S. Cooper, the president and chief executive of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
Her group presented data showing that 16.25 occupants of every 100,000 S.U.V.'s died in collisions annually, slightly higher than the 15.7 occupants per 100,000 passenger cars. Though many drivers bought S.U.V.'s believing they were much safer than cars because of their size, their high risk of rollovers, a particularly lethal kind of accident, more than offsets any advantage.

Additionally, automakers are flabbergasted that their mammoth vehicles can be more dangerous to other cars in a collision. And they plan to fix it, but that's not to say anything is dangerous about SUVs:

Two weeks ago, under unexpectedly intense pressure from the Bush administration's top auto regulator, Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, the industry agreed to cooperate in an effort to develop voluntary standards to make S.U.V.'s and pickups less dangerous to cars in a collision. But last week, the industry said that the plan was no reflection on the relative merits of S.U.V.'s.

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