The Effect of Weak Vehicle-roof Support during Rollover Accidents

Multiple-vehicle collisions are among the deadliest types of car accidents in the US. These include rear-end collisions, head-on collisions and side-impact crashes, also called side-swipes or T-bones. More dangerous than any of these, however, are rollover accidents, which have claimed more lives and greater damages in the past years, especially during the 1990s, when production of passenger vans increased and SUVs were introduced.

Based on the figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 10,000 lives are lost every year due to rollover accidents, which number to more than 280,000. Though any type of vehicle can rollover, the ones more prone are pick-up trucks, vans and SUVs. This is because these vehicles, compared to cars, have a center of gravity of is higher from the ground.

The results of a rollover accident becomes doubly worse is the roof of a vehicle collapses. Collapsing vehicle roof is another major cause of severe injuries and fatalities during rollover accidents. A vehicle’s roof crashing down on the driver and other passengers’ head and spine can cause severe or fatal head and spinal injuries.

One reason for roof collapse is failure of the roof pillars (these are the vertical structures that are supposed to hold up the vehicle’s roof in the event of a rollover accident). There are usually six (if counted individually) or three pairs of roof pillars: the A-pillars, which support the windshield, front side windows and the beginning of the roof. These can also channel the electrical wiring for the lights at the rear of the vehicle and for overhead lighting. The two other pairs are the B and C pillars; the former are the vertical supports between the front and rear doors, while the latter joins the vehicle’s rear side and rear windows.

Despite the great danger posed by weak roof support, many vehicles are built with reduced pillar strength. While this strategy lessens a vehicle’s weight as well as lowers its cost, it, nonetheless, also greatly increases the risk of serious injury for the driver and his/her passengers. Thus, to ensure the safety of every occupant even when the vehicle rolls over, the government has mandated a roof crush resistance standard which manufacturers should incorporate in every vehicle built.

Besides the roof crush resistance standard, the NHTSA has also required manufacturers to make the electronic stability control system (ESC) a basic feature of every car. The ESC is designed to give drivers greater control of their vehicles, especially when these skid, to lessen the possibility of a rollover.

The law firm Mazin & Associates, PC, says that when a car accident occurs, the result could be grave injury, permanent disability or death for drivers and their passengers. If this accident is the fault of one specific party, however, it would be greatly unfair to expect innocent victims to waste their time and resources dealing with the situation, especially in the event of a wrongful death. Pursuing legal action against responsible parties, especially for the purpose of recovering compensation, should be considered by victims. It may serve a great advantage for victims if they are represented by a seasoned personal injury lawyer in this legal pursuit.

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