Vehicle rollovers result in a significant number of fatalities every year, and there has been a vigorous debate about the roll that roof strength plays in those deaths.
Now, a new study from the Insurance Institute for HIghtway Safety reveals that stronger roofs would save lives. The study concludes as follows:
"Increased vehicle roof strength reduces the risk of fatal or incapacitating driver injury in single-vehicle rollover crashes. This finding contradicts those from two previous studies on the topic, but the present study more tightly controlled potential confounding factors. The study focused on midsize SUVs, but there is no obvious reason similar relationships would not be found for other vehicle types, although the magnitudes of injury rate reductions may differ. Any substantial upgrade to the FMVSS 216 roof strength requirement would produce reductions in fatal and incapacitating injuries that substantially exceed existing estimates."
Here is a copy of the study. This document discusses the issue (and other issues related to injuries and death occurring in SUVs) in lay terms.