By far, the deadliest risk facing SUV, minivan and truck drivers is a rollover car accident. As car accident attorneys, we know how easy it is to flip a car upside down. Part of the continuing car accident attorney training in our law firm involves going to specialty seminars where we have seen cars that are prone to rolling over, such as the Ford Explorer. Not only are many cars inclined to roll over, but many have poor structural designs, namely the roof, which must be stout in a rollover car accident.
Thousands of Rollover Accidents Happen Each Year
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 280,000 rollover accidents are reported each year, taking more than 10,000 lives annually. In 2003 alone, 35.7% of fatal SUV accidents resulted in a rollover. That same year, 15.8% of fatal passenger car accidents resulted in a rollover. What this statistic points out is the fact that SUVs are much more likely to rollover in serious car accident, and the fact that SUVs often carry heavy loads makes them even more top-heavy and thus are more likely to be involved in rollover auto accidents.
Rollover accidents are directly related to an automobile’s stability in turns; that stability is influenced by the relationship between the car’s center of gravity and the width between the left and right wheels (track width). A high center of gravity and narrow track can make an automobile unstable in fast turns or sharp changes of direction — increasing the odds that it will tip over once it begins to skid sideways. The problem is most pronounced in 4-wheel-drive pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles, which have a higher ground clearance for off-road driving.
Most fatal rollover accidents are single-car accidents that occur on weekend nights. The car drivers are frequently males under 25 years of age, and alcohol is usually involved. In three out of four fatal rollover accidents, the people in the car accident were ejected from the automobile, indicating that they were not wearing a seatbelt.
No Federal Standards to Prevent Vehicle Rollovers
Neither cars nor trucks are subject to a Federal Government Rollover Standard, although pressure for such a requirement has been building. To help predict which vehicles might have a greater likelihood to overturn in single-vehicle accidents, NHTSA introduced a rollover rating system in 2001. Reported on a five-star system, the rollover ratings are based on an engineering analysis of each vehicle’s center of gravity and the width between the front tires. The results are compared with police accident reports for confirmation. In its rating system, five stars equals a rollover risk of less than 10 percent, while one star indicates a greater than 40 percent rollover risk.
In the event that a rollover accident does occur, the majority of the determination in the fatality factor is how easily the roof of the car caves in. That is why, as car accident lawyers, we believe that two different types of standards regarding rollover car accidents should be implemented. First is the determination of the standard for the center of gravity for the car. And the next is the strength of the roof pillars for the car in the event of a car accident. These two rules being implemented could potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives every year in rollover car accidents.
Call Us Now to Maximize Your Auto Accident Settlement
If the unfortunate happens and you do get into a car accident, the best thing you can do for yourself is to seek legal representation quickly. Experienced auto accident lawyers, like the ones at our San Diego law firm, will help you avoid costly mistakes many people make when dealing with insurance companies who are often looking out for their best interests, not yours.
Remember, you only get one settlement for personal injury. Don’t you think you should do everything in your power to maximize your personal injury settlement?
If you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and believe that you deserve compensation, then call our bilingual law offices right away at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a FREE consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in San Diego and find out how we can help you. We look forward to providing good advice for your case. There is no cost for your initial consultation, and there are no fees until we recover a fair personal injury settlement.