The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) will today formally petition the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to consider bumper standards for light trucks which are more car-like. For the sake of argument, let's forget about that whole BlockerBeam system on Ford trucks, and how the difference in vehicle mass contributes to the damage as much as relative contact geometry. We also have to forget about retrofit diamond plate bumpers and grille guards, and lifted trucks too, but we're getting sidetracked by details. The core question is, "why would the IIHS be interested in seeing lower bumper standards on pickups and SUVs?"
The simple answer is "because the IIHS is a consortium of insurance agencies." When massive damage occurs in something like an underride accident (where the car goes under the truck), they have to pay for fixing things. The remarkable part of the article in Automotive News was the complete lack of the term "survivability" in any of the IIHC's arguments. Our favorite part?
The insurance institute contends that its new request is backed up with fresh research showing that vehicle damage could be dramatically reduced with better alignment of bumpers between cars and trucks.
Well sure, you want lower bumpers! Especially if you're paying to have the other car fixed and you don't have to worry about your truck getting stuck on a stump. [Automotive News (Subscription required)]
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