An SUV rolled over on a San Antonio freeway on March 25, killing one occupant and sending another to the hospital in critical condition. The deceased victim was in his early 20s, according to San Antonio’s KSAT-TV. Police had to shut down the eastbound lanes of Loop 1604 to clear the wreckage.
This tragic SUV rollover is the latest in a string of similar deadly incidents. While any type of vehicle should be designed to the highest possible safety standards, roof crush rollover accidents are of particular concern in pickup trucks and SUVs. In fact, rollovers are the biggest killers in light trucks and SUVs, and the numbers are getting worse every year.
Rollovers present increased dangers for SUV occupants
When an SUV rolls over, the driver and passengers face additional dangers from weak roof supports that collapse, seatbelts that fail, window glass that breaks, and air bags that don’t deploy.
- Roof crush. To properly protect SUV occupants in a rollover, the roof structure needs to be strong enough to resist crushing of the roof into the “non-intrusion” zone around the occupants. When an SUV’s roof is not designed to remain intact in the event of a rollover accident, the driver and passengers are at a high risk of serious injury or death from the roof crushing in on them.
- Seat belt failure. When SUV seat belts fail to properly lock and stay locked during rollovers, seat belt webbing spools out and exposes occupants to injury. This can be prevented when manufacturers install safety devices such as friction-lock latch plates, integrated seat/belt systems, torso web-locks, and rollover-activated pre-tensioning devices.
- Window glazing. Laminated glass is required in windshields to prevent shattering, but many side windows do not use laminated glass. When the side windows shatter in an SUV, that leaves a huge hole through which people can be ejected. Federal safety regulators found that adding side-window glazing could save up to 1,300 lives per year.
- Faulty airbags. Side curtain air bags that protect an occupant’s head reduce the number of fatalities by 45 percent. But some SUV manufacturers seek to make a profit by skipping this lifesaving technology. Even when side curtain air bags are installed, poor design choices by the manufacturers sometimes prevent those air bags from deploying in SUV rollovers.
With so many safety risks, not a single SUV earned the highest government safety rating in a 2003 NHTSA report.
Committed to Helping Victims of SUV Rollover Crashes
As shown in this recent and tragic San Antonio crash, SUV rollovers can occur when people least expect it. If you or a loved one have been injured in a rollover accident, contact our auto defect attorneys at The Ammons Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation. We’ve recovered over a billion dollars on behalf of injured consumers and drivers throughout Texas and beyond. With compassion, dedication, and experience, we aim to help those impacted by critical auto design defects and hold vehicle manufacturers accountable for failing to protect them.
Disclaimer: On our blog, we report on recent catastrophic accidents to begin important conversations about consumer safety. Our hearts go out to all the victims mentioned in this article, and we sincerely hope that future injuries and deaths can be prevented. If these resources are found to include any false or outdated information, we invite you to contact The Ammons Law Firm as soon as possible so we may update them. This content should not be construed as legal counsel or advice.