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SUVs and Rollover Crashes

Posted on in Car Accidents

Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer,Rollover crashes are still increasingly common across the country. In April, a Milwaukee man was injured in a rollover crash after a GMC van struck his Nissan van. In January, five people were injured when the driver of a Chevrolet Tahoe SUV swerved to avoid an erratic driver, causing the car to roll over.

Rollover rates were a big concern in the 1990s when the SUV industry was booming, but current reports indicate that safety rates have improved immensely over the years, making SUVs perhaps even safer than cars. But what about accident reports detailing hundreds of injuries per year resulting from rollover crashes, or safety reports showing that rollover crashes are one of the most dangerous types of crashes? Are SUVs still a rollover risk?

Statistics and Studies

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released data in 2008 stating that SUVs had the highest rollover involvement rate of any vehicle type in fatal crashes. Utility vehicles accounted for the most fatal crashes, accounting for nearly 33 percent, while 28 percent were pickup trucks, and vans tied with passenger cars at 17 percent each. In Illinois, 46.2 percent of fatal rollover accidents involved utility vehicles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that vehicles roll in only 2 percent of all crashes, yet such accidents account for over a third of accident fatalities. IIHS data suggests that rollovers are much more common for SUVs and pickup trucks than for regular passenger vehicles, and more common for SUVs than pickups. In 2014, 50 percent of fatalities among SUV drivers and passengers were in rollover crashes compared with 44 percent of pickup truck occupants and only 22 percent of passenger vehicle occupants.

Causes of Rollover Crashes

In general, rollover crashes are most often caused when a driver loses control of the vehicle in a situation where the vehicle can then slide sideways and “trip” over something such as a curb, causing it to roll over completely. Another common cause of rollover accidents is driver failure to negotiate curves appropriate, especially when attempting to turn at high speeds or within a tight turning radius.

Sport utility vehicles are more susceptible to rollovers due to the physical makeup of the vehicles. Because these types of vehicles are taller than regular passenger cars and have a higher ground clearance, their mass is distributed higher above the road relative to their width. Vehicles with a higher center of gravity such as SUVs are more likely to rollover than a vehicle that rides lower to the ground. Additionally, IIHS has noted that SUVs and pickup trucks are more likely than passenger vehicles to be driven on rural roads, where rollovers occur more frequently.

While utility vehicles can be exceptionally handy for drivers who need large cargo spaces, it is important to remember that the makeup of such cars can increase the risk of rolling over in an accident. Drivers should take caution and reduce speeds, ensure seat belt use, and ensure that their SUVs have adequate airbags and electronic stability control (ESC) systems.

What to Do If You Are Involved in an Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in a rollover accident, consult an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to help you understand your rights. The experienced Lake County car accident attorneys at Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. can provide the representation you need and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 847-662-3303 to schedule your free case consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.kenoshanews.com/news/minor_injuries_reported_in_rollover_crash_487648916.php

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/deerfield/news/ct-dfr-five-injured-rollover-tl-0107-20160104-story.html

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/811170

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/rollover-crashes/topicoverview
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