Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV), 15 Passenger Vans, & Brain Injuries

Sport Utility Vehicle rollover accidents seriously injury or kill about 10,000 people in the US each year, more than side and rear crashes combined. SUV and passenger vans are much more likely to rollover or flip than standard passenger vans.

Rollover accidents are responsible for:
• 51% of all deaths in SUVs
• 36% of deaths in trucks
• 19% of deaths in standard cars

SUV Rollover Deaths on the Rise.

Most drivers are not aware of the significant dangers associated with driving an SUV. Simple driving maneuvers like avoiding an object in the road or over-steering when passing another vehicle can result in the SUV flipping over or rollover with serious injury to the passengers inside. Driving over 65 mph significantly increases the risk and loss of control. Sport Utility Vehicles were originally designed as an off road vehicle, not for high speed highway travel. Their high center of gravity makes them top heavy and taking corrective action or sudden movement cause SUVs to rollover.

Vehicle Roof Problems – New Federal Study.

A new federal study that could have major implications in the growing debate over vehicle roof strength found a strong link between fatalities and injuries, and the severity of crushed roofs in rollover accidents. The new findings, however, could provide crucial supporting evidence for federal officials seeking to strengthen a 33-year-old roof strength standard that many safety advocates say is far too weak to protect U.S. motorists, particularly as rollover-prone SUVs and pickups proliferate.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which published the study this month, said it plans to propose tougher roof strength requirements by year’s end. The conclusions support earlier NHTSA research that found a link between crushed roofs and deaths.
Automakers are expected to oppose any sweeping changes to the roof-strength requirements for cars and trucks, which could add cost and weight to millions of vehicles.

In one important conclusion, NHTSA found there was a clear statistical correlation between the amount a roof intruded into the passenger compartment and the severity of injury. In cases where occupants weren’t injured, the vehicles averaged 16 centimeters of lost headroom due to roof intrusion. In accidents with the most severe injuries, the vehicles lost an average of 24 centimeters of headroom in the rollover crashes.