SUV Safety Campaign Launched Online
a sport utility vehicle as if it were an ordinary passenger
car can be fatal. In 2000, rollover crashes killed 9,873
occupants of passenger cars and light trucks, almost one-third
of the total deaths of occupants of these types of vehicles.
Despite these disturbing figures, more than four in 10 Americans
think they are safer in an SUV than in a regular car, according
to a new consumer survey.
combat the tragic reality that these statistics represent,
the 50 states and three jurisdictions today joined forces
to launch the ESUVEE Safety Campaign. This $27 million,
yearlong national education program consists of events and
initiatives designed to reduce SUV rollovers, particularly
among younger male drivers who have the highest incidence
of such accidents.
Campaign highlights critical tips for driving SUVs that
can mean the difference between life and death: check your
tire pressure monthly, don't overload your SUV, always wear
your seatbelt, try to avoid abrupt maneuvers, and don't
SUVs like ordinary cars invites disaster. Awareness of SUV
safety - especially stopping rollovers - can mean survival
to countless Americans," said Connecticut Attorney
General Richard Blumenthal. "Smart drivers can save
lives with some simple steps: avoid speeding, sudden maneuvers,
and overloading. Our education campaign targets young men,
who may be most vulnerable and most difficult to reach.
If you think this message is hype, look at the numbers -
thousands of young Americans killed in rollover crashes
SUV Safety Campaign will use a mascot, ESUVEE, to
engage the target audience of younger drivers.
SUV Safety Campaign will use a mascot, ESUVEE, to engage
the target audience of younger drivers. This previously
undiscovered species makes its first appearance during today's
campaign kickoff at New York's Central Park Zoo. New York
City has officially declared January 31st to be SUV Safety
Day. The 16-foot long, 11-foot wide and 10-foot tall ESUVEE
will serve as the Campaign's focal point, appearing at events
nationwide throughout this year. ESUVEE is prominently featured
on the Campaign's web site, www.ESUVEE.com, a source of
tips and information about safe operation and maintenance
of SUVs. Throughout the year, the site will also provide
information on upcoming events where ESUVEE will appear,
such as SUV Safety Days in individual states. ESUVEE will
also anchor a hard-hitting public relations campaign promoting
SUV safety, including cinema, billboards, print, online
and broadcast advertisements.
The concept of a safety campaign was conceived in December 2002, when the 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia reached a settlement with the Ford Motor Company. The agreement settled state lawsuits alleging that Ford's marketing practices misled consumers on how to drive, load and maintain Ford Explorers. As part of the settlement, Ford agreed to fund a $27 million consumer education campaign on SUV safety.
Lifesaving Safety Elements
"SUVs can give you a sense of invincibility, but if you lose control they become very dangerous due to their weight and high center of gravity," said David Champion, senior director, Auto Test Department, Consumer Reports. "To reduce SUV rollover risk, choose one that has not tipped in NHTSA's tests, has performed well in Consumer Reports tests, and is equipped with electronic stability control."
The Campaign aims to inform the public about the following critical safety elements that can help save lives:
Handling: SUVs have a higher center of gravity than passenger cars, which contributes to the higher risk of rollover. The chances of an SUV rollover are further increased by speeding, abrupt maneuvers, inattentiveness, tailgating, recklessness, aggressiveness or impaired driving.
Loading: According to the new consumer survey, nearly 50 percent of Americans do not know that overloading an SUV increases the risk of rollovers. The number of occupants, as well as the weight and distribution of cargo, raises a SUV's center of gravity, increasing the risk of rollover.
Tires: Tire size, pressure and maintenance are keys to SUV safety. Drivers should monitor each of these, and take them into account when loading an SUV.
Seat belts: Perhaps the most preventable cause of death in an SUV rollover is ejection from the vehicle. Eighty percent of those killed in SUV rollovers are unbelted.