I’ve been saying it for years: truck and SUV bumpers should follow the same standards as car bumpers. I’ve been in only two accidents since I started driving nearly ten years ago now—one that wasn’t my fault (a Jeep Wrangler rear-ended my Mercury Sable) and one that was (my Chrysler Cirrus rear-ended a Ford Escape). Both times, my sedan was seriously damaged by the SUV on the other side of the accident that escaped essentially unscathed. Both accidents were low-speed and would have caused negligible damage had the bumpers of the two vehicles been aligned with one another, but instead caused ended up costing me and the insurance companies more than $3,000.
Curiously enough, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has long held passenger cars to a consistent bumper standard. Currently, bumpers must be 16-20 inches from the ground and withstand an impact of 5 miles-per-hour with only minimal/superficial damage. Trucks and SUVs, however, are exempt from this standard.
Well, that was all well-and-good when trucks and SUVs were a small percentage of the cars on the road and were used pretty-much exclusively for, well, the off-roading and heavy-duty work they were designed for. Today, these are the mommy-mobiles that minivans used to be, and their bumpers should follow the same standard as other passenger cars. The Insurance Instititute for Highway Safety (IIHS), representing insurance companies that may have finally tired of paying out over $3,000 for minor, low-speed crashes, is joining my bandwagon and petitioning the NHTSA to apply their bumper standards to all vehicles, including trucks and SUVs. It is about darn time!