Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) now come fully equipped, including a healthy tax break. SUVs are roomy enough, you can fit your entire
family of six inside for a leisurely Sunday drive up the face of Mt Everest. But the SUV is marketed incorrectly according to one auto industry expert.
Aerial view of Metrolink train crash caused by an SUV left on the tracks near Los Angeles. SUV owner/driver Juan Manuel Alvarez, 25, of Compton, CA, faces 11 counts of murder and could face the death penalty in California.
Photo by KNBC-TV/Reuters
The SUV has a higher rate of rollovers than any other vehicle, but SUVs also
make news headlines... more than any other vehicle. Even before the Metrolink train crash near Los Angeles; SUVs were making daily headlines in the news. Take a look at some
SUV headlines during the week of 16-26 January 2005:
- Louis Jackson, former mayor of Moss Point, MS, dies after crashing his
- Singer Aaron Carter escaped injury after SUV crashes and erupts into flames.
- Driver Mark Klar is killed after family's SUV rolls over in Fallbrook, CA.
- Florida: Jennifer Ashton over-corrects her SUV steering causing it to flip three times.
- Harrison Palmer is charged with manslaughter for Raleigh, NC, SUV crash which
killed his companion.
- Ruth Lawton of Vermont died after being trapped in her SUV following
- Pedestrian Robert Lamontagne was struck and killed by an SUV in
- David Delago, (2 year old) of Santa Barbara, CA, died after being run over by
the family's SUV.
- Two teens steal an SUV after murdering the vehicle's owner in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
- Wisconsin man is found dead in the backseat of his burning SUV.
- Manuel Sanchez lost control of his SUV in Alligator Alley, FL, triple flipped,
killing him and injuring his companion.
- Mark Andrew Gilbert's new SUV overheated and caught fire killing
Gilbert before he could escape in Walcott, AR.
- Beverly Bingham of Cleburne, TX, tries to pass a semi-truck in her SUV, but
strikes another car with a family of four head-on, killing the mother and severely injuring the others.
- SUV crosses median on Highway 510 in Yelm, WA, strikes truck head-on
killing both drivers.
- Chad Allen of Curtin Township, PA, was ejected from his SUV and crushed
to death as the SUV rolled over him.
- Rikki Leigh Lewis swerved her SUV, lost control, crashed and died in
- SUV strikes sedan in Warren, AR, and kills one.
- Six bodies were found inside an abandoned SUV west of Brownsville, TX.
- Cynthia Sitz-Davanzo of St. Peters, MO, dies when her SUV collided
head-on with another SUV, four were injured in the crash.
- In Shreveport, LA, the driver of an SUV is killed after he hits a tree.
- SUV driver takes wrong lane, causing nine-car pileup and kills one driver
near Monterey, CA.
- High school student steals SUV, flips during a high-speed chase and the driver dies
in Charlotte, NC.
- Steven Miller of Newtown, CT, loses control of his SUV, strikes and kills
Poughkeepsie, NY, man who was shoveling snow.
- Two 20-something felons crash their SUV into a tree and die in Newberg, OR.
- Neil Prendable was killed in Greenbelt , MD, after being struck by an "out of
- Gregory Marlow faces investigation after he killed burglary suspect Eric Flint
with his SUV in West Palm Beach, FL
- Fighting over a Bible is said to have led to the SUV crash of a Fontana, CA, couple on I-10, the two were seen running away from the wreckage.
- Juan Manuel Alvarez leaves his SUV on Metrolink tracks in Los Angeles
causing two trains to collide; 11 deaths, and 180 injuries.
- David Silveria swerved across lanes in his SUV causing the car to tumble over an embankment killing Silveria in Klamath Lake, OR.
These are only a small percentage of SUV headlines for one week in January 2005 --
and in this case, SUVs made headlines more often than stories from Iraq as
that country prepares for an election.
SAFER DRIVING TIPS FOR SUV OWNERS
- Your SUV is not a small car; drive carefully, wear seat belts, drive SLOWER
than the posted speed limit. Due to the height of an SUV it appears as
though you are driving slower than reality.
- Don't use sudden or quick steering changes on your SUV. The weight and
height of an SUV is prone to flipping over on fast turns.
- Drive SLOWER when your SUV is loaded. Cargo and passengers raise the
center of gravity on an SUV.
- Don't rely only upon mirrors for your view. Look in all directions prior to
changing lanes or when passing other vehicles.
- Check tire air pressure always. Lack of tire pressure can lead to blowouts.
- Driving at high speeds can cause heat related tire failure.
- Treat your SUV with the respect, or the next headline might hold your name.
Is there SUV fever in the United States? Or is it simply bad luck SUV
drivers can't control their habits?
Eric Peters writes for the The Car Connection, and says that SUVs have
changed into a mass-market sales gimmick "and are used almost entirely as
passenger conveyances by the vast majority of people who now buy them."
He said SUV drivers don't understand how an SUV can react or handle
differently than the car they are used to driving. "Today's SUVs are gussied
up with luxury and convenience items" and have become more
sophisticated, he said.
It is easier to lose control of an SUV in poor weather conditions and while cornering or abrupt
maneuvering, said Peters, it does not mean SUVs are unsafe. Drivers need
to pay attention with road curves, swerving, and especially when traveling at
The average price range for a new SUV is between $31,000 and $48,000
according to the Edmunds Price Index. But competition for sales has dropped
the profit margin for automakers. For years SUV owners benefited from an
average tax break of $30,000 as a business write-off; but that tax break was
increased to $75,000 for businesses and self-employed SUV owners in
2003 under new White House rules meant to boost auto sales.
For the tax-break alone, it could mean the driver owns a free SUV... who
wouldn't jump at the chance to save such an expensive business expense?
Requiring SUV safe-driving habits however does not require White House approval and simply misses the headlines.
---This content is copyrighted by
Think & Ask, reproduction of any kind is not permitted without written consent.---