TNO report | 04.OR.SA.065.1/RH | November 30, 2004
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Conclusions related to traffic safetyIn summary, it can be concluded that SUV’s are significantly more aggressive againstvulnerable road users. Problems with SUV crashes to other vehicles on the road arerelated amongst others to compatibility, except for commercial vehicles. However inthis study no difference is found between heavy passenger cars and SUVs. SUVs areabout as heavy as the average full-size passenger car. So the same mass differenceoccurs within passenger car classes (e.g. full-size and small cars). Although the bumperheight is about 20% higher compared to passenger cars, this difference could notdirectly be related to an increase in injury severity in this study due to the lack of data.Nevertheless, based on accident pictures in this study and other investigations, it isbelieved that mass, frontal stiffness and geometry factors play a role in thecompatibility between SUVs and other road users.
Recommendations related to traffic safety
Concerning the aggressiveness, the ladder chassis construction should be made lessaggressive with respect to compatibility. Also the height of the bumper and other loadbearing components of SUVs need be more compatible to other road vehicles.Protruding objects and winches on the vehicle should not be allowed on public roadsand attention must be paid to the bull-bar. A bull-bar is of no use in road traffic. A morerestricted regulation is needed to allow the use of a bull-bar only if they have nonegative effect on the safety of other road-users.With respect to lethality, a less deformable SUV roof and upper pillars is needed toprevent the roof to collapse during rollover accidents.
Recommendations to improve the traffic safety analyses
The effect of mass needs further investigation with a study in which passenger cars andSUVs in identical mass-classes are compared. The two groups need to be of equal mass-distribution. Difference between the two categories could then be explained bygeometry (e.g. bumper height) or stiffness characteristics.The effect of gender needs to be further investigated with a control group. Video shotsat random locations should be able to give information about the frequency of male andfemale drivers in passenger cars and SUVs. Compared with accident data, thisinformation could give valuable information about driving behaviour differencesbetween men and women, and information about average vehicle mass in thesecategories.Conclusions related to environmental impactWith respect to the harmful (regulated) emissions CO, HC, NO
and PM that affecthuman health and the ecological system the following conclusions are drawn:1
Both SUVs and ‘regular’ passenger cars (M1 class vehicles) are subject to the sameemission regulations. However, the more heavy vehicles with a GVW above 2500 kg(N1 class II and III) have wider limits, and may possibly emit more than ‘regular’passenger cars.2
The test results show that the four M1 and N1 petrol SUVs easily satisfy thelegislative emission limits for M1 vehicles. Also in real-world driving conditionsabout the same level of emissions is observed as for regular passenger cars.3
The statistical value of the SUV test results is restricted due to the limited number of vehicles in comparison to the variation that is normally observed in emission tests.With respect to fuel consumption and CO
-emissions (climate effect) the conclusionsare:1
No legislation on fuel consumption or CO
-production exists. Instead a covenantbetween the EU commission and the vehicle manufacturers has been agreed to