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Toyota 4-Runner and Other SUV Rollover Cases

Toyota issues recall announcement affecting 880,000 vehicles

May 2005-Toyota Motor Corp. said it is recalling about 880,000 sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks worldwide because of a defect that could affect steering. In the United States, 774,856 Toyota SUVs and pickup trucks have been recalled, including the 2001-2004 model years of the Tacoma, the 2001-2002 versions of the 4Runner and the 2002-2004 model years of the Tundra and Sequoia. Toyota's recall announcement also affects 22,000 vehicles in Japan, 22,000 vehicles in Europe, 14,000 vehicles in Australia and 10,800 vehicles throughout the rest of the world. Read More

SUV STABILITY FORMULA

WARNING LABEL REQUIRED

"This is a multipurpose passenger vehicle which will handle and maneuver differently from an ordinary passenger car, in driving conditions which may occur on streets and highways and off road. As with other vehicles of this type, if you make sharp turns or abrupt maneuvers, the vehicle may roll over or may go out of control and crash. You should read driving guidelines and instructions in the Owner's Manual, and wear your seat belt at all times."

-Warning label manufacturers are required to place in each sport utility by the driver.

A vehicle's stability is measured by the formula---t/2h---where t is the 'track width' (center of the right front tire to the center of the left front tire) and h is the vehicle's center of gravity. When this number is 1.2 or greater, the vehicleis unlikely to roll. However, the further the ratio dips below 1.2, the greater the likelihood of rollover.

While many vehicles have safe ratios, the addition of passengers, cargo and a full tank of gas all occurs above the center of gravity, increasing the chance of a rollover accident. Given a real world scenario, the SUV would probably have cargo, multiple passengers, etc. This extra weight would definitely lower the ratio to dangerous levels if an accident were to occur at normal highway speeds.

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