Rollover Ratings for 2001 Models Read before you Try or Buy!

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E.
Slater today announced the first rollover resistance ratings for passenger
vehicles as the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized a rating program that provides
consumers with a measure of a vehicle's resistance to rolling over in a single
vehicle crash.

    "By providing consumers with information about the comparative rollover
risk of various types of vehicles, they will be better able to choose a safe
vehicle for themselves and their family," Secretary Slater said.  "We expect
these ratings to drive improved safety, which is President Clinton and Vice
President Gore's highest transportation priority.  By providing consumers with
additional information, we can motivate manufacturers to respond with safer,
more stable vehicles."

    The program gives "star" ratings for rollover resistance as part of the
agency's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).  The highest rating is five stars;
the lowest is one star.  The ratings released today are for model year 2001
vehicles.

    More than 10,000 people die every year in rollover crashes, according to
NHTSA.  Over 60 percent of the sport utility vehicle (SUV) occupants killed in
1999 died in crashes when their vehicle rolled over, compared to 23 percent
for car occupants.

    NHTSA Administrator Dr. Sue Bailey stated the importance of these ratings
to consumers when shopping for safety.  She said that with the rollover
resistance ratings, NHTSA is providing consumers with information about one of
the deadliest types of crashes.

    NHTSA expects motivated manufacturers will respond to consumer demand for
safer, more stable vehicles.  In 1979 when NCAP ratings for frontal crashes
began, just 33 percent of vehicles achieved a four- or five-star rating.  By
1997, 85 percent had received four or five stars.

    Bailey emphasized that the best consumer advice about rollover is the
dramatic effect of seat belts.  "Your best chance of surviving a rollover is
by buckling up.  Eighty percent of the people killed in single vehicle
rollovers were unbelted, and we know that belted occupants are about 75
percent less likely to be killed in a rollover crash than unbelted occupants,"
Bailey said.

    The Rollover Resistance Rating is an estimate of the risk of rolling over
if a person has a single vehicle crash, usually when the vehicle runs off the
road and is tripped by a curb, ditch or soft soil.  It does not predict the
likelihood of that crash. The Rollover Resistance Rating is based on "static
stability factor," a measure of a vehicle's center of gravity and track width
to determine how "top-heavy" the vehicle is.  The more "top-heavy" the
vehicle, the more likely it is to roll over.  The lowest-rated vehicles (one
star) are at least four times more likely to roll over than the highest-rated
vehicles (five stars). Here is the five star rating system:

    In a single vehicle crash, a vehicle with a rating of:

    Five Stars  -  *****      Has a risk of rollover of less than 10 percent
    Four Stars  -  ****       Has a risk of rollover between 10 percent and 20
                                percent
    Three Stars -  ***        Has a risk of rollover between 20 percent and 30
                                percent
    Two Stars   -  **         Has a risk of rollover between 30 percent and 40
                                percent
    One Star    -  *          Has a risk of rollover greater than 40 percent

    Among the first vehicles rated, only one, the Honda Accord, received five
stars.  All of the other passenger cars rated to date received four stars.  In
addition, the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Honda Odyssey, Chevrolet Silverado Extended
Cab 4x2, and the GMC Sierra Extended Cab 4x2 received a four star rating.  One
vehicle, the Ford Focus, has Electronic Stability Control, a device which does
not affect the Rollover Resistance Rating directly but may reduce the
likelihood of a single vehicle crash, and thus, the risk of subsequent
rollover.  NHTSA will note vehicles equipped with Electronic Stability Control
in all future Rollover Resistance Ratings announcements.

    The agency expects to issue rollover resistance ratings for more than 80
Model Year 2001 vehicles by April of 2001.  Complete ratings will be posted on TACH
as they become available.  The first set of ratings for model year 2001 vehicles 
follows:


                 Model Year 2001 Rollover Resistance Ratings

              Vehicle        Model Tested      Rollover Resistance Rating

    2001 Light Passenger Cars
    (2000-2499 lbs. curb weight)

    Ford Focus                   4DR                    4 stars

    2001 Compact Passenger Cars
    (2500-2999 lbs. curb weight)

    Chevrolet Cavalier           4DR                    4 stars
    Honda Civic                  4DR                    4 stars
    Pontiac Sunfire              4DR                    4 stars
    Volkswagen Jetta             4DR                    4 stars

    2001 Medium Passenger Cars
    (3000-3499 lbs. curb weight)

    Chevrolet Impala             4DR                    4 stars
    Ford Taurus                  4DR                    4 stars
    Honda Accord                 4DR                    5 stars
    Mercury Sable                4DR                    4 stars

    2001 Sport Utility Vehicles

    Chevrolet Blazer           4DR 4x2                   1 star
                               4DR 4x4                  2 stars
    Chevrolet Suburban           4x4                    3 stars
    Chevrolet Tahoe            4DR 4x4                  3 stars
    Chevrolet Tracker          4DR 4x2                  3 stars
                               4DR 4x4                  3 stars
    Ford Expedition              4x2                    2 stars
    Ford Explorer                4x4                    2 stars
    GMC Jimmy/Envoy            4DR 4x2                   1 star
                               4DR 4x4                  2 stars
    GMC Yukon                  4DR 4x4                  3 stars
    GMC Yukon XL                 4x4                    3 stars
    Honda CR-V                   4x4                    3 stars
    Jeep Grand Cherokee          4x4                    2 stars
    Lincoln Navigator            4x2                    2 stars
    Mercury Mountaineer          4x4                    2 stars
    Mitsubishi Montero Sport     4x4                    2 stars
    Suzuki Vitara              4DR 4x2                  3 stars
                               4DR 4x4                  3 stars

    2001 Light Trucks

    Chevrolet S-10               4x2                    3 stars
                                 4x4                    3 stars
    Chevrolet Silverado       ExCab 4x2                 4 stars
                              ExCab 4x4                 3 stars
    Ford F-150                   4x4                    3 stars
    GMC Sierra                ExCab 4x2                 4 stars
                              ExCab 4x4                 3 stars
    GMC Sonoma                   4x2                    3 stars
                                 4x4                    3 stars
    Isuzu Hombre                 4x2                    3 stars
                                 4x4                    3 stars

    2001 Vans

    Honda Odyssey                                       4 stars
    Mazda MPV                                           3 stars
    Chrysler PT Cruiser          4DR                    4 stars

    (1) Electronic Stability Control available as an option.

(POSTED 12;40PM)
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