SUV Rollovers

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The increasing popularity of sports utility vehicles or “SUVs” on the roads today has had a significant impact on road safety. In the early 1990s, fewer than 1 million SUVs were sold each year, and they did not constitute a significant number of vehicles on the road. The number of SUVs sold each year since then has grown drastically. In 2003, car manufacturers were making significant profits from their SUV models as approximately 4.5 million SUVs were sold to the consumer on the retail market. Today, sports utility vehicles make up approximately 10% of all vehicles on the road, numbering about 22 million SUVs.

With the number of SUVs on the road increasing every year, significant safety issues have been brought to the public’s attention. Accident statistics have shown that SUVs have a significant risk of rollover accidents when compared to regular passenger cars. Even the most stable SUVs are still considered less stable and more likely to be involved in a rollover accident than the least stable of the normal passenger cars.

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Why Do SUVs Roll Over?

One of the essential reasons why sports utility vehicles are more likely to rollover is the way in which the vehicles are designed. SUVs are designed as off road vehicles, which are meant to have high ground clearance. Having high ground clearance means that the vehicles are built to maximize the amount of space between the underbody of the SUV and the ground in order to safely navigate the truck over obstacles. Since these SUVs sit much higher off the ground than regular cars, the trucks have a much higher center of gravity. In emergency situations, when trying to swerve or turn sharply to avoid another car or an obstacle in the road, the high center of gravity causes the truck to transfer too much weight while swerving and this transfer causes the SUV to skid out of control and roll over.

SUV Rollover Statistics

Car manufacturers have come under increasing public and governmental pressure to deal with the rollover safety issues associated with SUVs. According to some reports, the fatality rate in rollover crashes is almost three times as high in SUVs when compared to regular passenger cars. When looking at statistics for all SUV fatalities, the negative impact of rollover accidents is clear, as 61% of all SUV fatalities involve rollovers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, statistics from 2002 show that there were 2,448 deaths and 58,000 injuries associated with SUV rollover crashes in the United States. The increase in rollover deaths saw a jump of 14% over 2001 totals. Statistics from 2001 show that rollover accidents made up only a fraction of total vehicle accidents at just 3%; however, these SUV rollovers caused nearly one third of all vehicle occupant fatalities.

Questions and Consultations

If you or a family member has been involved in a SUV rollover accident or are interested in more information on SUV rollover litigation, please fill out the free case evaluation form and a member of Seeger Weiss LLP’s experienced staff will call you to discuss your potential rights concerning SUV rollovers. Attorney consultations incur no obligation on your part and all initial consultations are free of charge and do not create an attorney-client relationship.

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