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Who Is Safer in an SUV – the Driver or the Passenger?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury


New crash test results regarding SUV safety reveal that some of the most popular, smaller models fail to adequately protect passengers in certain types of crashes, though they do shield the driver from injury. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced their findings on seven small SUVs, and none of them received a “Good” rating for passenger-side structure when tested in 40 miles per hour collisions. The IIHS commended some automakers for making great strides in improving safety but stressed that more work is needed.

Compromises in SUV safety put passengers at risk. This can be deeply concerning when the people occupying these seats are likely to be your loved ones. Even as the IIHS urges manufacturers to make improvements, there are countless models on the road that overlook passenger safety. If you were injured in a motor vehicle crash, you should reach out to a Chicago SUV accident lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. for help.

To schedule a free case assessment with a skilled Chicago accident lawyer, call us at (312) 236-2900 today.

Passenger-Side Small Overlap Crash Test Conditions

The IIHS conducted a specific type of test to determine the threat of injury to SUV passengers riding in seven 2018 model year vehicles. In the passenger-side small overlap crash test, researchers created a scenario of what would happen when the front corner of the car collided with an object, such as a tree, utility pole, or another vehicle. Though five of the seven cars tested earned a “Good” overall rating, none of them performed as well in the subcategory of SUV structure on the passenger side.

The specific issue with the structure in SUV safety was intrusion, according to the IIHS. Upon impact, the vehicle shell was pushed into the foot and leg compartment on the passenger side. Intruding structure measured up to 10 inches for one model, compared to five inches on the driver’s side. Plus, the passenger-side door on the same SUV pushed four inches into the seat area. From these measurements and damage to the crash test dummy, IIHS researchers stated that right hip, shin, upper thigh, and foot injuries would be likely in a real-life crash.

Automakers Take Notice of Passenger Risk

Notably, each of the recently tested SUVs did earn high marks for the driver’s side under the same test conditions. Also, two previously evaluated models in the small SUVs class received a “Good” rating for the passenger-side small overlap test. These factors demonstrate that manufacturers know what it takes to protect drivers, but they have not yet implemented the technology on the passenger side. Still, industry trends reveal that these test scenarios and rating systems are useful in driving automakers to improve safety when designing upgrades.

Schedule a Free Consult with a Chicago SUV Accident Lawyer

Though there are concerns about protecting passengers through SUV safety, motorists often fail in their duty to exercise reasonable caution on the road, and injured victims suffer the consequences.

Fortunately, Illinois law does allow you to recover compensation if you are hurt in an auto collision. A Chicago SUV accident lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can tell you more about your rights, so do not hesitate to contact us right away.

Call us at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a free, initial consultation today.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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