POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Lakeland resident Patricia Simmons, 52, tragically died Nov. 20 in a rollover accident on US Highway 92.
Simmons was driving west on US 92 in a Ford Explorer when two of the vehicle’s wheels left the road for unknown reasons at about 10:20 a.m., according to a local news report The SUV re-entered the outside lane of the highway, continued westbound, and rolled several times before coming to a rest on the north shoulder of the roadway.
Simmons was partially ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene of the accident.
Simmons’ 23-year-old son, Jeremiah Simmons, was asleep in the back of the SUV when the accident occurred. He had to be transported to a local hospital, and he told police he did not know how or why the accident happened.
No additional information about the accident has been released.
COMMENTARY ON THE PATRICIA SIMMONS ROLLOVER ACCIDENT ON US 92
I am dismayed to learn of Patricia Simmons’ tragic rollover death. Rollover crashes are far too common on our roadways. This is just one more in a very long list, particularly among sport utility vehicles.
In my 30-year practice as a personal injury attorney, I have studied rollover crashes and have taken steps to hold automakers accountable for safety flaws inherent in the design of these vehicles.
In a nutshell, the wheelbase of SUV’s is often too narrow compared to the height, causing a low static stability factor (SSF). The SSF is the value attributed to a vehicle to predict the likelihood that the vehicle will roll during an accident. The lower the SSF value, the more likely it is to roll over on impact. Based on my research, the Ford Explorer has had one of the lowest, or one of the worst, SSF’s of any SUV.
Historically, the Ford Explorer also has had one of the worst roof strength-to-weight ratios of any SUV or light truck, which predicts the likelihood of a roof collapse during a rollover. It has been shown that for minimal cost per vehicle, enhanced roof reinforcement could potentially increase roof strength by two-to-three times. This amounts to adding roughly 16 pounds of steel to roof reinforcement. If you want to learn more about my research into rollover crashes, read this study.
As a responsible citizen and seasoned professional, I will continue to press forward to raise awareness regarding vehicle design flaws that contribute to the epidemic of rollover accidents occurring on our nation’s highways. In addition, I will continue to exert what influence I possess to encourage automakers to increase safety measures in their vehicles by holding them accountable when more could be done to protect innocent victims. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Ms. Simmons, and wish for the full and speedy recovery of her son, Jeremiah.
Disclaimer: All information contained within this post was compiled from public sources or constitutes the opinion of the author. Please inform us immediately if you identify any false or misleading information.