"We anticipate that our roof strength test will drive improved rollover crash protection the same way our frontal offset and side impact consumer test programs have led to better protection in these kinds of crashes," says Institute president Adrian Lund.
Institute research indicates that roofs have gotten stronger during the past few years. Part of the reason is that manufacturers have made structural improvements to earn better front and side ratings in Institute crash tests. Strong A and B pillars help prevent intrusion in these types of crashes and also help hold up the roof.
"It's not surprising that Volkswagen and Subaru earn good ratings in our new roof test because these automakers were among the first to ace our front and side tests," Lund points out.
More than 10,000 people a year are killed in rollovers. When vehicles roll, their roofs hit the ground, deform, and crush. Stronger roofs crush less, reducing the risk that people will be injured by contact with the roof itself. Stronger roofs also can prevent occupants, especially those who aren't using safety belts, from being ejected through windows, windshields, or doors that have broken or opened because the roof has deformed. Roofs that don't collapse help keep people inside vehicles as they roll.