More than 250,000 vehicle rollovers causing about 10,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Any type of vehicle can roll over under specific conditions and circumstances, and the NHTSA found that almost 85 percent of all rollover-related deaths are the result of single-vehicle accidents that is, most rollovers involve vehicles that were not hit by another vehicle.
A Very High Fatality Rate
Vehicle rollovers have a very high fatality rate. In recent years, nearly one-third of vehicle crash fatalities occurred as a result of rollovers. Thats an extremely high percentage considering rollovers only account for about 34 percent crashes.
Safety advocates have been pressing the federal government to do more to prevent rollovers by requiring specific design improvements in several types of passenger vehicles, including SUVs, which have the highest rollover risk.
SUVs, Light Trucks, Vans
Vans and pickup trucks are also prone to rollovers because, like SUVs, they ride higher from the ground, with a higher center of gravity, and they can be more difficult to maneuver and handle compared to sedans. In 2002, 45% of the deaths in pickup truck crashes were the result of rollovers.
Large (15-passenger) vans also have an increased rollover risk. The NHTSA issued a warning to drivers and passengers of 15-passenger vans because of their higher rollover risk. These large vans are often used to transport school-aged children, patients, and the elderly.
In many fatal roof crushes, the roof, roof headers, and/or supports of the vehicle collapse, crushing the vehicle's occupants. Severe spinal cord and head/neck injuries are common in rollovers (for the occupants who survive). Roof-strength requirements are not yet adequate, particularly for the vehicles that are most likely to roll.
Fuel-fed Fires after Rollovers
Rollovers are also prone to fires. When a vehicle rolls, its gas tank and fuel line may allow the gasoline to escape, starting and/or feeding a fuel fire. The placement and manufacture of the tank and fuel line can make a rollover fire more likely.
Speak with an Attorney
A rollover can cause horrific injuries and fatalities. Attorneys who are familiar with automotive design issues can help you determine whether your losses after a rollover may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact an experienced attorney today.