Every year, thousands of rollover accidents resulting to as many as 10,000 deaths and 24,000 serious injuries are reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A rollover accident is a deadly type of vehicular accident; it is characterized by the tipping over of a vehicle onto its side or roof. While any type of vehicle can rollover, the ones most prone to this type of accident are pickup trucks, vans and, SUVs.
Rollover accidents are usually caused by unsafe roadways, worn out tires (due to loss of traction), or a great tendency of the vehicle to oversteer (turn farther than it was meant to), or understeer (turn lesser that intended). However, the major cause of rollover accidents, as pointed out in the Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, website, is a vehicle’s defective design, specifically, its center of gravity being higher from the ground.
The consequences of rollover accidents are almost always serious, like head injury, spinal cord injury, dislocated bones, amputated limb, or death. Due to the great risk of severe injuries passengers are exposed to in this type of accident, the NHTSA has released safety measures, which drivers should observe for them to avoid a rollover from happening. Besides making sure that a vehicle is never loaded with very heavy cargo, drivers, especially of SUVs and vans, should also make sure that the vehicle maintains its balance by keeping the weight of passengers and cargo equally distributed inside the vehicle.
Requiring that vehicle manufacturers install a safety device, called the Electronic Stability Control (ESC), in vehicles is another major move adopted by the NHTSA. This safety device consists of sensors which are capable of immediately detecting loss of vehicle control. As loss of control is detected, the ESC automatically applies brakes on the affected wheel to allow the driver to regain control of the vehicle. The ESC also helps ensure stability during quick turns, improves control of vehicle on gravel patches and road shoulders, increases traction on slippery and ice-covered roads, and eliminates the likelihood of oversteering and understeering.
It mentioned above, however, that rollover accidents are primarily due to a defect in vehicle design, enough reason why accidents should be blamed on manufacturers. It is, therefore, important for the family of a victim in a rollover accident to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately for the possible legal action they may pursue against the liable party.