There won’t be any public celebrations, but Sept. 1 is a small and contentious landmark in automotive safety. It is the deadline for the auto industry to voluntarily make S.U.V.’s and pickups less deadly in frontal and side-impact collisions with passenger cars.
The new S.U.V. standards are meant to address the so-called “compatibility issue.” In frontal impacts with passenger cars, the high-riding frame of an S.U.V. or pickup often did not match up with the frame of the smaller car to help dissipate the energy. That meant a lot more damage could be done to the car and its occupants. Side impacts — where there is little metal to protect passengers — could be devastating.
Earlier this year the automakers told the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration that all their vehicles would be in compliance by the deadline.