Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Faced with government tests showing its sport utility vehicles to be bad rollover risks, General Motors did the right thing: It blamed drivers.

By “right thing,” of course, I mean “irresponsible and deceptive,” but it’s all relative.

Here’s the GM statement quoted in today’s New York Times:

The dominant causes of rollover crashes and injuries are: excessive vehicle speed; impaired driving due to alcohol, drugs, fatigue and distraction; and failure to wear seat belts.

So although there are sport utility vehicles -- the Dodge Durango and Honda Pilot among them -- that will not roll over, according to the government tests, GM prefers rhetorical tricks to engineering skill. Throwing in “injuries” when the issue is rollovers is brilliant: The company actually succeeds at seeming reasonable when it blames drivers for “failure to wear seat belts” when their multiton hunk of steel tips over at 40 miles per hour and rolls down a hill onto train tracks.

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