Rollovers And Sport Utility Vehicles

Eighty Percent Of All Deaths In Single-vehicle Crashes Of Sport Utility Vehicles Involve Rollovers.

SUMMARY

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 220,000 rollover accidents in the United States in 1991. Of these accidents, 207,000 [94%] were single vehicle rollover accidents.

Rollover accidents accounted for 9186 deaths during the same time frame and 56,000 serious injuries. 63% of the deaths were related to occupants being ejected from the vehicle during the course of the rollover. 17% of the fatalities were wearing their seat belts during the accident. Importantly, only 7% of the rollover accidents involved a vehicle that began to roll over while on the roadway while the remaining 93% began to roll off the roadway.

According to the same government study, pickups and sport utility vehicles have a rollover rate that is 2-3 times higher than the average passenger car. A study performed for the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association has likewise recognized the significant difference between rollover rates for passenger cars versus sport utility vehicles. When measured by either fatalities or incapacitating injuries per occupant involved, rollover crashes are the most dangerous type of collision for all classes of light vehicles. Rollovers are second only to frontal crashes in their level of severity in terms of fatalities per registered vehicle. These statistics support the proposition that rollover crashes are the most dangerous collision type for all classes of light vehicles whether measured by fatalities or by incapacitating injuries per involved occupant. The statistics are even more alarming when one considers that rollover accidents are the least frequent crash mode per registered vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") has recognized that the rollover problem is most serious for sport utility vehicles. According to the NHTSA, the injury rate is 28% higher for sport utility vehicles as compared to light trucks.

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