Rollover crashes kill about 10,000 people annually, even though rollovers account for about 3 percent of crashes. While deaths and injuries in front- and side-impact crashes have decreased since the 1980s, deaths in rollover crashes rose with the popularity of SUVs. In 2005, the highway bill mandated that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issue upgrades to many vehicle safety standards related to rollover that had not been updated since the 1970s.
Some of these new requirements will likely have a strong effect in reducing rollover fatalities and injuries, including a requirement to install electronic stability control on all vehicles by September 2011. Other requirements, such as the upgraded roof strength standard, may not be as protective as they could be. Vehicles must be designed to protect occupants when vehicles roll over, just as they are designed to protect against frontal impact crashes. A whole-vehicle design perspective would result in a greater level of safety.