One of the deadliest risks faced by motorists is the risk of a rollover accident — particularly for those who drive SUVs, minivans and trucks, which tend to have a higher center of gravity and a greater propensity to tip. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 280,000 rollover accidents are reported each year. Those rollovers kill more than 10,000 motorists annually.
If a summer road trip is on your agenda this year, or even if you just commute routinely, the following NHTSA data and safety information regarding rollovers could save your life or the lives of your passengers:
All types of vehicles can rollover. However, taller, narrower vehicles such as SUVs, pickups, and vans have higher centers of gravity, and thus are more susceptible to rollover if involved in a single-vehicle crash.
Fatal rollover crashes are speed-related more often than fatal non-rollover crashes. Some 40% of fatal rollover crashes involved excessive speeding. Additionally, nearly 3/4 of fatal rollovers took place where the posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour or higher.
Nearly half of all fatal rollover crashes involve alcohol . Impairment can result from any blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .00 . Even a small amount of alcohol will negatively affect your judgment, muscular coordination, and vision, making you more likely to lose control of your vehicle.
Rural roads tend to be undivided and without barriers. They are thus more likely to be the scene of a fatal rollover. Almost ¾ of fatal rollovers occur in rural areas where the posted speed limit is typically 55 miles per hour or higher.
NHTSA data also suggest that over 90% of the vehicles in fatal, single-vehicle rollover crashes were involved in routine driving maneuvers (going straight or negotiating a curve) at the time of the crash. This further suggests that driver behavior (distraction, inattentiveness, speeding, and impaired driving) plays a significant role in rollover crashes.
NHTSA data show that nearly 85% of all rollover-related fatalities are the result of single-vehicle crashes. This means that the majority of rollover crashes and fatalities do not involve any other vehicle besides the one that rolled over, further suggesting that driver behavior plays a significant role in rollover crashes.
Previously on the DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
- How entering and exiting a vehicle puts seniors at serious risk of injury
- A new study indicating that seat belt use by pregnant women saves fetuses
- DC Driving Don’ts: Regional road rules unique to the beltway
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