TRL reviewed national accident statistics and DVLA data and found that 4x4s and MPVs are involved in fewer impacts with crash barriers. Just 2% of strikes involve 4x4s / MPVs. But on Britain's roads these vehicles make up 10.1% of the total fleet.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says this is probably because SUVs are fitted with accident avoidance technology like ESP to prevent skidding and loss of control.
TRL's findings follow a Department for Transport report published in October last year. This examined 2004 accident data and revealed that occupants in a 4x4 / SUV were around half as likely to be killed or seriously injured in a two-car impact as those in other types of car.
While this report is no longer available to download from the DfT web site, copies can be requested from the DfT via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We need to reassure owners who have read reports in the papers', said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.
"Researchers at TRL have demonstrated that drivers of 4x4s and MPVs are less likely to be involved in collisions with safety barriers and that occupants are less likely to be killed or seriously injured in all types of accident," said Macgowan.