The US government this week began new a new “fishhook” test to assess a vehicle’s propensity to roll over, focusing particularly on SUVs.

After considering a number of alternatives, with its current testing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided to use a "fishhook" test in which vehicles steered by a computer will make abrupt turns at varying speeds until the wheels lift off the ground.

Preliminary results of the "fishhook" showed that SUVs, bakkies and vans with a high centre of gravity that were loaded with passengers fared much worse than passenger cars and other light trucks that sit lower and are wider.

"Consumers need to consider rollover risk when they shop for a new vehicle," said Jeffrey Runge, the NHTSA administrator. US government figures for all vehicles show that 10 000 people were killed in rollover crashes in 2002, up five per cent from the previous year while SUV rollover deaths were up 14 per cent to more than 2 400.

Original article from Car