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RI Rollover Accidents | Fatal Rollover Accidents and Safety

After years of studies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered that rollovers are the second most common cause of fatal road accidents after head-on collision. Further, this type of accident is the leading cause of deaths which involved SUVs, light trucks, pick-up trucks, and mini-vans in the US. According to NHTSA, rollover kills at least 10,000 people and seriously injures 55,000 to 60,000 individuals every year. With the seriousness of the problem, the department is finding ways to improve the safety features in vehicles.

Today, the focus of safety experts and carmakers is to strengthen the roof of SUVs which have been found to be two to four times more likely to rollover than low-roofed passenger cars. According to experts, SUVs are more vulnerable to rollover with its higher center of gravity and higher roof.

Because of the popularity of SUV, especially in Los Angeles, NHTSA and safety experts are trying to find out what improvements should be done to make this type of vehicle safer.

While strengthening the roof may improve SUV’s safety feature, NHSTA argued that this is not the only solution to the problem, saying that safety experts have to focus more on designing a seatbelt that works perfectly in rollover accidents.

According to government data, safety belts are 80 percent effective in preventing deaths in rollover crashes. However, this finding contradicts the fact that at least three out of ten people killed in rollover crashes were using seatbelts.

The problem with seatbelts today is that while it is effective in preventing injuries in head-on collision, it fails to provide enough protection in the event of rollover crashes, according to General Motors (GM).

Most seatbelts today extend 3 to 5 inches, safety experts said. But in the event of rollover accident, a person will move 5 to 7 inches from his seat—enough movement to hit his head against the roof even before it touches the ground, they added.

However, experts are looking into new seatbelt design and technologies to improve safety. These include the following:

  • Pretensioners equipped with sensor. Pretensioners work by loosening a bit the seatbelt if a person’s chest hit it at a certain level, preventing injuries in the chest area in head-on collision. To make this effective in rollover crashes, experts are considering to put a sensor in pretensioners that will detect if the vehicle is tipping over, preventing the pretensioners to loosen up, thus restraining a person more effectively.
  • New car seat design. NHTSA researchers are considering to attach belts on the seat rather on the side of the car to restrain people better. Also, they are trying to figure out what material is the most ideal to use in car seats to prevent too much movement in rollover crashes.
  • New seatbelt design. Because side-to-side and vertical movement is the most common cause of injuries in rollover accidents, experts are finding ways to reduce such movements by developing new seatbelt designs.

(ArticlesBase SC #3718650)

personalinjuryAbout the Author:
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