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“I have been prosecuting serious injury and wrongful death cases against trucking companies, auto makers and tire manufacturers for more than 30 years. Our firm maintains this blog to share information and insight on transportation safety issues that continue to arise on our nation’s highways and roads.”

Paul McDonough tragically dies after rollover crash in Blue Earth

FARIBAULT COUNTY, Minn. — Fairmont resident Paul McDonough, 32, died Nov. 17 after he was severely injured in a single-vehicle rollover accident at the intersection of County Road 16 and 310th Avenue in Blue Earth.

Officials with the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office located McDonough's vehicle, a Ford Windstar, at about 4 p.m. in the east ditch of the intersection, according to a local news report.

McDonald had to be extricated from the vehicle by emergency personnel. Life saving measures were performed, but he ultimately succumbed to his injuries. 

 Two passengers, 18-year-old Kado McDonough and 18-year-old Richard Murphy, were treated for minor injuries and released at the scene of the accident.

Authorities have not released any information about how the accident occurred nor information regarding factors that may have caused the accident.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Commentary and educational thoughts on rollover accidents

I was deeply disturbed to learn of the tragic rollover accident that claimed the life of Paul McDonough and injured two teens. At 32 years of age, Mr. McDonough’s life ended many decades prematurely. I extend my deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and loved ones left to grieve.

Authorities have not released any details as to how or why this single-vehicle fatality occurred. We are only left to speculate.

With the advances in safety features, engineering, and design, you may be surprised to hear that rollover accidents are not on the decline. Fatal rollovers occur virtually everyday somewhere in our country. I have done extensive research on the causes of rollover crashes and have been a crusader for increased safety features and design for three decades.

There are three basic safety and design features a vehicle needs to reduce rollovers or to protect the occupants in case of a rollover. First, the wheelbase must be wide enough to stabilize the height of the vehicle. This is known as the static stability factor or SSF. The lower the SSF number, the more prone a vehicle is to roll in an accident. Sports utility vehicles and light trucks are especially prone to rollovers, but some mini-vans and passenger cars are more likely than others to roll as well. 

Second, a vehicle needs a roof strength-to-weight ratio sufficient to withstand roof crush in case of a rollover. Vehicle safety engineers recommend a minimum roof strength at least two times the vehicle’s weight, but some manufacturers actually employ roof strength up to five times the vehicle’s weight. In other words, if the vehicle weighs 3,000 pounds, the roof strength, at minimum, should be able to bear 6,000 pounds of weight. The idea is to prevent the roof from crushing in on the occupant’s head in a rollover. You may think that reinforcing roof strength would be expensive, but it is very minimal considering the increased safety benefits. It’s unconscionable that some auto manufacturers cut costs to increase profits at the expense of human lives.

Third, to meet minimal government safety standards, a vehicle must possess a passenger restraint system that will keep passengers in their seats in all types of accidents, including rollovers. However, oftentimes in rollover accidents, seat belts remain latched after the driver or passenger has been ejected or removed from the vehicle. The passenger restraint system is intact but has failed to restrain the passenger.

To learn more about the science behind rollover crashes, read my study, "The Making of an Epidemic". I will continue my campaign to influence automakers to build safer vehicles while raising public awareness regarding the differences in existing safety features and design.

Disclaimer: All of the 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.

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