You may be surprised to find out Toyota, the world’s largest and most popular car maker does a porous job of designing their vehicles for rollover accidents and general automobile safety. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) tested the roof strength and crash durability of numerous vehicles. Not a single Toyota ranked in the top 10.
This is troubling since a rollover accident is devastating both for the passenger of a vehicle and the vehicle itself. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration went so far as to say it’s one of the most harmful accidents that can take place. In fact, roughly 10,000 people die every year in rollovers.
The primary cause of the extensive damage is the lack of sufficient roof-crush protection. As the accident name implies, a rollover places a high level of pressure and weight on the vehicle’s roof. Some auto companies recognize this safety risk and design their cars, SUVs, and trucks to handle a rollover accident; others don’t.
Toyota’s lack of rollover preparedness shouldn’t come as a surprise. I wrote back in September about a former attorney for Toyota that alleges the auto manufacturer forced him to conceal evidence for car rollover accident cases over the past 20 years.
Clearly, more attention needs to be paid to improving roof durability during an accident for all auto companies, but Toyota really needs to step up their effort. The safety tests by IIHS aren’t going away and Toyota would only strengthen their reputation (and sales) if they dramatically improve their roof safety and structural standards.