Rollover Risks on the Range
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more than 280,000 rollover accidents every year and result in more than 10,000 deaths. An Okmulgee man recently lost his life in one of Oklahoma’s latest rollovers when his Dodge Ram careened off the road, overturning twice before coming to an abrupt halt. Without a seatbelt fastened, the victim was thrown from the cab and died at the scene.
Why are rollover accidents so prevalent?
As statistics indicate, rollovers are responsible for a disproportionate number of fatal crashes, particularly accidents that involve sport utility vehicles (SUVs), trucks and minivans. What these types of vehicles have in common is their lack of stability during turns or swerves, which is caused by their high centers of gravity and relatively narrow distances between wheels on each side of the vehicle. While this design is beneficial for driving in snow, mud and other inclement conditions, it makes these vehicles highly prone to single-vehicle accidents. When drivers don’t wear seatbelts, the risk of ejection from the vehicle in a rollover accident is extremely high, with 75 percent of fatal rollover accident victims being thrown from their vehicles.
Rating system, but no standards
Despite SUVs’ well-known proclivity to roll over, the federal government hasn’t introduced standards with which to regulate vehicle design. In response, the NTSHA developed a rollover rating system to predict which vehicles are more likely to flip in single-vehicle accidents. Using engineering design assessments that are analyzed in comparison with police accident reports, the system assigns scores based on the likelihood of a vehicle’s rolling over.
Off the road
When rollover problems become extreme, companies are forced to recall their vehicles. This was the case with the Ford Explorer, Lexus GX and Toyota Sienna, which were responsible for thousands of accidents before their manufacturers were forced to try to get these vehicles off the roads. Even non-SUV vehicles may be prone to roll over, such as one model of the Honda Civic, which was recalled due to fuel tank fires caused during or after rollovers.
When rollovers cause accidents and injuries, or when death occurs, victims and loved ones should reach out to qualified accident attorneys who can help them seek fair compensation for their damages.