South Carolina Attorneys Discuss SUVs and Rollover Accidents
SUVs and pickups are growing in popularity and have overtaken passenger cars in recent years. In fact, preliminary numbers list SUVs or pickups as occupying over half of the 25 best-selling vehicles of 2018. With the rising sales of these larger vehicles, there has also been a rising concern about their safety, especially in the event of a rollover accident.
SUVs and Rollovers
A rollover accident is an accident in which the vehicle turns onto its side or roof, and these are more common in SUVs and pickups than in cars. According to the IIHS, rollovers only occur in about one percent of all accidents but account for roughly a third of accident fatalities overall. By 2016 numbers, only 22 percent of deaths in car accidents occurred in rollover events, compared to 43 percent in pickups and 47 percent for SUVs.
The higher rates of death in rollovers compared to other kinds of accidents are due to several factors. In a rollover, occupants of a vehicle are more likely to be ejected during the accident. For those who remain in the vehicle, there is some debate about the exact way that crushing damage to the roof endangers occupants. The result is that when the roof is crushed, people are more likely to be seriously injured.
Similarly, there are many reasons that SUVs and pickups have a higher rate of rollover than cars. These include decreased stability due to a higher center of gravity and more frequent usage on rough, rural roads with conditions that encourage rollovers to happen.
Rollover safety has been on the public’s mind more often since SUVs hit the market, and various regulations and practices have sought to address safety concerns. Some consumer resources track the vehicles with the highest chance of rolling over to help shoppers make informed choices.
Federal regulations have required that all new vehicles since 2012 have electronic stability controls to reduce the likelihood of a rollover, and the IIHS reports that these newer SUVs are showing significant improvement. This change offers little help against some rollover causes, like side impacts at high speeds, but it seems to be doing well at what it is designed to handle. Stricter regulations on roof strength, aimed at reducing crushing during a rollover, are still being perfected but are a subject of focus in the last decade.
In the end, though, the best way to prevent a rollover is careful driving, and the best way to stay safe in the event of a rollover is wearing a seat belt properly.
When rollover accidents do happen, they pose a great danger to those involved. If you have been the victim of a rollover accident, contact us today to learn how we can help you.