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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 Rollover NEWS

New rollover stability test being considered

January 11, 2005

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering a new SUV rollover stability test, according to NHTSA administrator Dr. Jeffrey Runge.

Runge said he was pleased with the number of automakers now offering electronic stability control that helps detect and prevent a SUV rollover. Because of the estimated $350 cost per vehicle that stability control and other technologies are associated to, Runge thinks it puts automakers that include them at a competitive disadvantage.

The NHTSA, says Runge, is currently looking at ways to encourage the widespread use of technologies that could prevent SUV rollovers. The agency has been criticized for not mandating specific safety technologies despite the high number of lives it could potentially save. The NHTSA estimates that just 7.4 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2003 were equipped with stability control.

According to the NHTSA, SUVs have a rollover rate that is two to three times that of passenger cars. A NHTSA study published in September found stability control helped reduce single vehicle crashes involving SUVs by 67 percent.

In 2002, 61 percent of all SUV fatalities and 45 percent of pickup-truck deaths were the result of a rollover, compared to just 22 percent of passenger-car fatalities because of rollovers. The agency said it could use a new performance test to encourage automakers to use stability control or another kind of rollover-prevention technology.

Electronic stability control systems help drivers stay on the road in emergency situations by automatically adjusting steering and braking to keep the vehicle on course. The NHTSA does not regulate rollover stability, but the agency assigns ratings of one to five stars on all light vehicles to provide consumers with information about the vehicle's propensity to rollover.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety completed a study estimating widespread use of stability control could save more than 7,000 lives a year. In 2004, a record 598 recalls were announced, affecting more than 30.6 million vehicles.

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