The researchers claim that damage to vehicles could be much less severe if bumpers on cars and trucks matched up better. Cars are currently required to have bumpers that protect an area 16 to 20in above the ground, taking a 2.5mph impact into a flat barrier with no major damage. SUV bumpers are allowed to sit much higher, reports Automotive News. The Ford Explorer (pictured), which has bumpers that line up better with cars than most other SUVs, caused far less damage to cars during crash tests than most of its rivals.
There are concerns that forcing manufacturers to add lower bumpers to SUVs and pickups would diminish their utility, however, IIHS president Adrian Lund said in a prepared statement these concerns are both outdated and wrong.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tends to reject proposals from outside agencies and has already rejected petitions to extend the bumper standard to light trucks twice since 1984.