The opportunistic Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [Motto: “We Now Accept Your Soul In Lieu of Payment”] has joined the flock of vultures circling SUV’s with a petition they’re resubmitting to the federal government essentially pinning billions of dollars worth of claims on those evil, sacrilegious SUVs.
According to statistics published in the petition, SUVs are in violation of federal bumper-height regulations and are costing the insurance industry billions of dollars a year. The specific regulation the extremely tight-laced IIHS is referring to is the 16-20” rule the government currently places on all sedans. Apparently, those bumper regulations do not apply to utility vehicles.
In its argument, the IIHS explains that bumpers are designed to absorb the impact and prevent damage to the vehicle’s “soft” parts, like grills and taillights. To maximize and this safety feature, the federal government requires that all bumpers be constructed to ride anywhere between 16 to 20 inches off the ground. Due to engineering differences however, many utility vehicles sit well above the maximum 20”. As a result of the height incongruities, small-on-large vehicle incidents [sounds hotter than it is] are often costlier then small-on-small incidents [doesn’t really sound hot at all].
Not a new theme for the IIHS, the petition to require large vehicles to comply with bumper regulations is one of several the IIHS has tried to muscle through the government in the past. On their official website, the exasperated National Highway Traffic Safety Administration patiently explains that bumper regulations do not apply to larger vehicles because of the “potential compromise to the vehicle utility in operating on loading ramps and off-road situations.”