Crushed Roof Accidents
When a passenger vehicle rolls over in an accident, too often, the vehicle’s roof collapses, severely injuring the vehicle’s occupants. Although rollover accidents are rare — only 3 percent of all serious crashes — they result in 30 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that crushed roof accidents injure 900 people and kills about 600 every year, even when the passengers are wearing seat belts.
Regulations to Increase Roof Crush Standards
The NHTSA set the original standard for vehicle roof strength in 1973. It required the roof of any vehicle weighing 6,000 pounds or less to withstand at least 1.5 times the vehicle’s weight. This was tested by pressing a metal plate on the roof over the driver’s seat.
In 2009, the rules were updated to require vehicle roofs to withstand 3 times the vehicle’s weight, using the same means of measurement. Under that force, the roof should not bend so far that it would touch the head of a median-height male test dummy. The new law also requires that vehicles weighing over 6,000 pounds meet a roof-crush standard; prior to 2009, heavier vehicles were exempt. Now, the crush standard for the heaviest passenger vehicles is 1.5 times the vehicle’s weight. The 2009 law applies to vehicles with a model year of 2012 and later.
Critics say these rules still don’t go far enough. For example, to better simulate real rollovers, safety experts say, the testing methodology should require the plate pressing on the roof to angle farther forward. Experts also agree that roofs should support about four times the vehicle weight.
When rollovers occur, forces pull vehicle occupants out of their seats and toward the roof. Current safety belt design does not include a requirement to hold vehicle occupants in place to reduce the high percentage of crushed roof injuries.
Roof Crush Injuries
When a roof collapses in a rollover accident, it may cause serious injury to the occupants of the vehicle, including paralysis from the neck down (quadriplegia) or waist down (paraplegia). It can also result in traumatic brain injury to the vehicle’s occupants, as well as other serious injuries, or death.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Crushed Roof Accident
If you have been seriously injured or a loved one was killed due to the collapse of a roof during a rollover vehicle accident that was caused by a negligent or reckless driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to receive maximum monetary recovery. TorkLaw is experienced in handling serious cases due to vehicular defects and will aggressively pursue your case to ensure that you are compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages.
Free Roof Crush Accident Consultation
TorkLaw provides free legal consultations on potential crushed roof accident cases. Our firm is dedicated to properly and effectively protecting the rights of those who have been injured to defective automobiles. Call now: 888.845.9696.