As an Atlanta car accident attorney, I can safely say that rollover accidents are some of the deadliest that I see in my practice. In the year 2009, more than 8,000 people were killed in rollover accidents in the US. According to the Department of Transportation, more than 50% of these involved a passenger being ejected from the vehicle during the rollover. It’s not as if a seat belt can completely protect you against ejection. As an injury attorney in Atlanta, I have come across instances of occupants being flung out of cars completely or partially, even after wearing seatbelts.
A new rule announced last week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seeks to put an end to this. The rule will require that automakers ensure that occupants of a vehicle are unable to move 4 inches beyond an open window during a rollover. These rules will go into effect in 2013. By the year 2018, the agency expects all vehicles to be equipped with systems that prevent ejection during a rollover accident.
Automakers are likely to use side airbag systems to prevent injections. According to the Department of Transportation, having safety devices like these will save an average of 373 lives. These devices will also prevent 476 injuries every year.
Any vehicle can roll in a crash, but the problem is worse in some kinds of vehicles than others. About 25 percent of occupant deaths in crashes of cars and minivans involve rolling over. For SUVs, this proportion jumps to 59 percent.
The best way to prevent the deaths is to keep vehicles from rolling over in the first place. Electronic stability control is significantly reducing rollovers, especially fatal single-vehicle ones. When vehicles do roll, side curtain airbags help protect the people inside. Belt use is essential.
The Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester, Honda Element, and Jeep Patriot all have previosly earned good ratings. The Suzuki Grand Vitara, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Mitsubishi Outlander are rated acceptable. Roofs on the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape are marginal, and the Kia’s is poor. It’s not surprising that Volkswagen and Subaru earn good ratings in our new roof test because these automakers were among the first to address the front and side tests.
The NHTSA already has some of the strongest roof strength standards in decades. These rules not only require the roof of the vehicle to withstand much greater force than in the past, but also enhance testing standards for roof strength. I believe that combining stronger roof strength standards with rollover ejection prevention will dramatically reduce the number of people being killed or seriously injured in these accidents every year.
Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and would like discuss your case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.