SUV Rollovers: Once A Serious Problem

The Messina Law Firm June 13, 2018

SUV Rollovers, the perception among drivers is that bigger is better, and therefore SUVs–which are bigger than other cars–must be safer. Unfortunately, this perception is not correct. SUVs, which are not only bigger but taller than other kinds of cars and trucks, have had a disturbing tendency to roll over. Which consequently, resulted in more serious accidents. Almost every make and model of SUVs have had this problem.

Electronic stability control (ESC)

However, improved safety features like electronic stability control (ESC) see video below have made the segment equal to or better than the passenger car class.

How electronic stability control (ESC) works

Pickup trucks making safety gains too.

Pickup trucks have made huge strides also. In 2016, Ford F-150 won a top safety pick award from IIHS, marking the first time a pickup ever took such an honor.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, SUVs no longer roll over at more than twice the rate of other vehicles. Nonetheless, the high clearance of SUVs and trucks makes these vehicles more likely to tip over when hitting an obstruction.

NHTSA rollover testing

NHTSA rollover testing aims to assess each vehicle for its propensity to flip while driving, and the latest vehicles showed some flaws in this department. SUVs tend to be taller than cars. Have a higher ground clearance. Generally, have a narrower distance between their wheels. All of which combine to give SUVs a higher center of gravity that makes it easier for them to turn over.

The size of SUVs means that they can be (and often are) heavily loaded. As a result of the extra weight, it actually makes it more likely that the SUV will roll over in a crash. The fact that most people use their SUVs as a family car rather than as an off-road vehicle. Marketing as family cars is more profitable than selling off-road vehicles. Which has led most SUV manufacturers to remove roll bars from their SUVs. Roll bars that would otherwise provide some protection in the event of SUV rollovers.

Auto’s Cheatsheet says “NHTSA classifies the Nissan NV3500 passenger van as an SUV and in the rollover testing performed on the 2017 model it had the worst rating of any large vehicle (two of five stars). Though the frontal and side crash tests were not completed at the time of writing, we do know the NV3500’s rollover risk of 30.6% was the worst of any truck or SUV now on sale”.

Fundamental design changes needed.

Many SUV manufacturers tout the steps that they have taken to increase safety. However, none of these steps involves any fundamental redesign of SUVs to make them safer. Instead, manufacturers claim that they have tested their SUVs and have found them difficult to roll over. However, what they don’t tell you, is that these tests were conducted with lightly loaded SUVs driven by professional drivers. The reactions of these drivers have very little to do with how an ordinary driver with three kids and a car full of groceries would react in the same situation. Also, don’t be fooled by the number of “stars” that an SUV has received. Statistics show even an SUV that has a five-star crash-rating still has a 10% chance of rolling over in a crash.

Rollover accidents are statistically far more likely to result in deaths.

The proof of the danger presented by SUV rollovers is shown in accident statistics. In the real world, rollover accidents are far more likely to result in death than are other kinds of accidents. SUVs are involved in more rollover accidents than are other kinds of passenger vehicles. The propensity of SUVs to rollover has caused more than half (53%) of the passenger deaths in SUVs. In contrast to 19% in regular passenger cars.

Litigating SUV rollovers can be complex and usually requires proving:

  • That a maneuver that is commonly performed by drivers and that would not have caused a car to rollover, did however cause the SUV to rollover.

  • F, however, after it rolled over, its design was not sufficient enough to protect the occupants from injury.

This involves knowledge of state laws governing negligence. Also federal safety regulations and the law of corporate liability and products liability. Someone like Joey Messina of Messina Law Firm.

If you or someone you love has been involved in an SUV rollover accident. You may have a claim against the manufacturer and others for any injuries that have been suffered. Do not settle for less than what you are due. Contact our firm. We will be happy to discuss your case with you at no charge.