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GM Responds To NHTSA Remarks On Safety Of SUVs

DETROIT, January 14, 2003: Dow Jones reported that General Motors Corp. , responding to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report warning of the hazards of sports utility vehicles, said SUVs are among the safest vehicles on the road.

On Tuesday, the NHTSA said SUVs aren't safe enough and are especially vulnerable to rollovers. The nation's top automobile-safety regulator called for possible government action to make the vehicles safer.

In a press release Wednesday, GM said that rollover fatalities are largely attributable to a lack of seat belt use. The company said NHTSA data shows that 72% of those killed in rollover crashes weren't wearing safety belts, and that most deaths were caused by ejection from the vehicle, not the vehicle itself.

GM also said that since the SUV boom began in the late 1980s, the nation's fatality rate on roads has dropped more than 50% to an all-time low.