AM Online

US SUV furore continues

Anti-SUV publicity in the United States moved up a gear this week with the publication of New York Times journalist Keith Bradsher's book High and Mighty – which concludes that the sector has produced “the world's most dangerous vehicles.”

Bradsher details the evolution of the SUV from its beginnings as a no-frills, bumpy-riding jeep favoured for backcountry fishing trips to its current status as a chic substitute for America's former family favourite – the station wagon.

He suggests that SUVs' great weight means that they take much longer to stop than smaller vehicles – the 4-wheel drive helps acceleration, not braking, he argues. And that their high centre of gravity makes them dangerously prone to rollovers, and how their weight and height makes them difficult to manoeuvre, bad for road visibility, and causes them to "inflict massive damage in collisions."

Combine this with the environmental harm caused by their gas guzzling engines, and what you get, writes Bradsher, "are the world's most dangerous vehicles."

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