Americans spend a lot of time in their cars commuting to work, running errands, transporting children to activities, and vacationing. Most people take for granted that automobiles are safe. In fact, road safety has steadily improved over the past several years.
However, one type of vehicle threatens to reverse this encouraging trend: the sport utility vehicle, or SUV. Before the SUV was a household word, light trucks were the main cause of traffic fatalities. You may be surprised to find that SUV design is based on a light truck; for example, Ford’s Explorer was based on the Ford Ranger pick-up truck design.
Due to this design factor, SUVs inherited the risks of driving a light truck. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the government agency studying the safety of SUVs. NHTSA found two similarities between SUVs and light trucks: a high incidence of rollovers and crash compatibility.
The statistics show that 37% of SUVs rollover in fatal accidents compared to a 15% rate of rollover for passenger cars. SUVs are heavier and ride higher than most other vehicles, which puts passenger cars at risk due to crash compatibility. This means that the SUV bumper will impact the upper body of the passenger car, not its bumper, which was designed to withstand a crash. These qualities can also prove deadly to occupants of the SUV.
In the event of a car accident, the likelihood of SUV rollover and traffic fatality is three times higher than a four-door passenger car. An SUV’s high center of gravity combined with increased weight adds to vehicle instability and tendency to roll during emergency maneuvering or collision. Because only a handful of SUVs are equipped with a roll bar, the roof of an SUV usually collapses in a rollover accident, increasing the possibility of occupant fatalities.
NHSTA has known that SUV design leads to more rollovers and traffic fatalities since 1988, so why don’t they order car manufacturers to fix this flaw? The answer is that enforcing design change for all SUV makers would be prohibitively expensive. Design flaws aside, consider that over 25% of car sales in 2004 were SUVs, so more that 22 million SUVs are on the road. The reason most buyers choose SUVs? Ironically, it’s safety.
If you fall victim to an accident with an SUV and suffer personal injury, or lose a loved one to traffic fatality, you will need the experienced and professional legal guidance of SUV accident attorneys at O’Connor Acciani & Levy Co., LPA. We will evaluate your case at no charge and guide you through the complicated legal system. Your settlement is just a phone call away. Call us today at 513-842-9029, or toll free at 877-288-3241 .
Court costs and case expenses by law are responsibility of the client.