Vehicle-to-Vehicle Compatibility

Compatibility refers to how well two vehicles match up in a two vehicle crash.  Heavier vehicles with higher ground clearance can pose a disproportionate risk to occupants of smaller cars. But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Manufacturers can design larger vehicles to distribute crash forces over a greater area, thus reducing the risk to occupants of struck vehicles.

Vehicle compatibility is complicated and relates to a number of vehicle characteristics including weight, ground clearance, bumper height, and the shape of the front end.  Public Citizen has long advocated that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issue a standard for vehicle compatibility, but the agency has not done so.  Vehicle manufacturers entered into a voluntary agreement on compatibility in 2003, but the voluntary agreement has since disbanded. This underscores the need for the agency to issue a standard.

Copyright © 2017 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


You can support the fight for greater government and corporate accountability through a donation to either Public Citizen, Inc., or Public Citizen Foundation, Inc.

Public Citizen lobbies Congress and federal agencies to advance Public Citizen’s mission of advancing government and corporate accountability. When you make a contribution to Public Citizen, you become a member of Public Citizen, showing your support and entitling you to benefits such as Public Citizen News. Contributions to Public Citizen are not tax-deductible.

Public Citizen Foundation focuses on research, public education, and litigation in support of our mission. By law, the Foundation can engage in only very limited lobbying. Contributions to Public Citizen Foundation are tax-deductible.