Deadly car and truck accidents happen across the DFW area almost every day. One happened near our office last week when an SUV rolled over on I-30 which critically injured several people and took the life of a 22-year-old woman. Here’s a photograph from the scene. And on Sunday night, two people were ejected from a truck in a rollover accident east of Dallas. Since rollovers accidents have the highest fatality rate of any collision, this is an important public safety topic for all of us.
Causes of rollover accidents
Rollovers happen for a number of reasons and are more complex from a liability viewpoint than other vehicle accidents.
Multiple factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, tires, load, road composition and condition, weather, and location need to be analyzed in addition to the usual driver error.
While any kind of vehicle can roll over, the higher and narrower it is, the more prone it is to do so.
SUVs and some pickup trucks and vans with higher center of gravity are the most often ones involved.
One reason we have a disproportionate amount of rollover accidents in North Texas is the outsized number of these vehicles on our roads. Roofs can easily collapse and trap occupants. To make injuries more severe or deadly, many rear seat passengers are not seat belted and can be ejected.
2. Driver error
Since data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that about 90% of rollover accidents that result in fatalities are single-vehicle crashes, speeding, distracted driving, and impaired driving are usually to blame.
Almost half involve driving while intoxicated or alcohol consumption. A driver exceeding the .08% blood alcohol content is not necessary to seriously alter his muscular coordination, vision, and judgment.
Often these rollovers occur when the driver is not in full control of his vehicle due to his unsafe speed or improper lookout. He often slams on his brakes or jerks his steering wheel suddenly, especially in a curve. A sudden move to one side shifts the center of gravity and can makes it flip over or roll front to back.
The NHTSA notes that about half of deadly rollover accidents involve one of more drivers speeding and three-fourths of them happen on highways with a speed limit of 55 mph or more.
3. Location and weather
Three-fourths of fatal rollovers happen on rural roads, have high speed limits, and are not divided. Often, wet or icy roads are involved.
The NHTSA concluded that most rollover accidents happen after the vehicle is “tripped” when one of its tires hits a curb, pothole, or soft spot in the road or shoulder.
Depending on the investigation by accident reconstruction experts, a products or premises liability lawsuit can be filed against the vehicle or tire manufacturer or government entity responsible for road construction and maintenance.
If you are in the market to purchase a new or used vehicle, check its safety rating, including its rollover protection, here.
We can help you
Berenson Injury Law has successfully represented people injured in car, truck, SUV, 18 wheeler, and motorcycle wrecks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for nearly 40 years.
Please contact us if you have any questions about your collision case.