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NHTSA Seeks to Reduce Fatalities in Roll-over Accidents




Roll-over accidents, where a vehicle such as an SUV or car flips or turns over on its roof, have the highest fatality rates of all accident types. Passengers may be killed or severely injured when they are wholly or partially ejected from openings such as side windows, doors or moon roofs. In some cases, passengers are crushed in roll-over accidents when roof supports collapse.

Only 3% of car accidents involve roll-overs, yet roll-overs cause a disproportionate 33% of all car accident fatalities, according to 2002 statistics from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Last week, the NHTSA announced a new rule to prevent passenger ejections during roll-over accidents. Advocacy groups have long lobbied the NHTSA for new industry standards that reduce passenger ejections. The new NHTSA rule requires auto manufacturers to develop a countermeasure that prevents unbelted adults from moving more than four inches past the side window in the event of a car accident. The NHTSA is phasing in this new standard in 2013, and all new vehicles will be equipped with this feature by model year 2018.

“When fully implemented, we believe this standard will prevent on average 373 fatalities and 476 serious injuries every year,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

Though NHTSA studies show that some vehicle types, such as SUVs, are more prone to roll-overs, driver behavior plays a large part in vehicle accidents and the resulting injuries. Distraction, inattentiveness, speeding, an overloaded vehicle or impaired driving can significantly increase the chance of roll-overs and other car accidents. NHTSA statistics show that nearly 50% of fatal roll-over accidents are alcohol-related and 40% involve excessive speeding. Drivers who do not or are unable to pay attention to the road are more susceptible to “trips” that cause roll-over crashes. According to safercar.gov, a site sponsored by NHTSA, roll-overs are tripped when a vehicle goes off-road and into soft soil, hits a guardrail or slides into a steep slope.

While many roll-over accidents occur without involving another vehicle, such multi-vehicle car accidents do occur. If you have been involved in a Chicago or Illinois roll-over car accident through no fault of your own, contact the car injury attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard at 877.788.2045 for a free case evaluation.

For more information on roll-over accidents, roll-over prevention, roll-over trips, roll-over fatalities, roll-over-prone vehicles, roll-over NHTSA statistics, NHTSA accident statistics, and NHTSA accident tips, see safercar.gov and the NHTSA website.