SUV Safety

Driver- and side-impact airbags in deployment. See more car safety pictures.

On January 23, 2000, Derrick Thomas, nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, was paralyzed in a single-car accident in Kansas City, Missouri. Thomas lost control of his 1999 Chevy Suburban on an ice- and snow-covered highway and rolled the vehicle. Neither Thomas and nor his friend Michael D. Tellis were wearing their seatbelts, and both were thrown from the vehicle. Tellis was pronounced dead at the scene, and Thomas died two weeks later on February 8 when he suffered a pulmonary embolism. A third passenger, John C. Hagebusch, suffered only minor injuries. Hagebusch was the only passenger wearing his seatbelt.

Thomas' mother filed suit against General Motors for wrongful death, claiming design flaws in the Suburban caused the accident. In 2004, a jury ruled that Thomas' family was not entitled to any money from GM as a result of the accident. Reports indicate Thomas was weaving in and out of traffic and driving too fast for the snowy conditions. Couple those poor decisions with the fact that he wasn't wearing a seatbelt, and it appears that the jury made a wise decision.

In this article, we'll look at the safety reputations of SUVs, find out what safety features to look for when purchasing an SUV and get some SUV driving tips.