Dallas Law Firm Blog

NHTSA Enacting Safety Measure for Rollover Car Crashes

Rollover Car CrashesThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just announced a new rule that will require automakers to take steps to prevent passengers from being ejected from side windows in rollover crashes. The rule will be phased in beginning 2013. All new vehicles must meet the standard by model year 2018.  While the rule does not dictate how manufacturers are to meet the mandates, the most common method most likely will be side air curtains.

Auto Manufacturers Push Back Despite Low Cost

Even though the new rule is expected to save 373 lives per year and prevent 476 serious injuries per year at a low cost of $31 per vehicle, auto manufacturers still complain that the safety regulation is too burdensome and that the mandate will be ineffective at saving lives and reducing injuries.  But is that really surprising?  Auto manufacturers complained that the requirement of having seat belts in a vehicle was too burdensome and that such a requirement would be ineffective.

The fact is, the NHTSA has been slow to implement any type of effective safety standards with respect to providing occupant protection in rollover accidents.  The only standard that existed for almost 40 years with respect to rollover protection was a “watered down” roof strength standard.  While that standard, FMVSS 216, has recently been increased from a 1.5 times curb weight to 3 times the curb weight, the requirement is still not at a level it should be. Furthermore, roof strength is only one part of the safety systems needed to protect occupants in rollover crashes.

Rollover Deaths Still Prevalent

Over the last 35 years, deaths and injuries from frontal crashes has dropped significantly. But deaths and injuries caused by rollovers have not dropped at all. 10,000 deaths and 18,000 serious injuries occur as a result of rollovers every year. An occupant of a vehicle is 14 times more likely to die in a rollover accident than in a frontal crash.  I applaud the NHTSA for taking this long awaited step to reduce the catastrophic injuries and deaths that occur in rollover crashes every year.

The rollover car crash attorneys of Gaujardo & Marks has over 20 years of experience in representing victims of rollover car crashes.  If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a rollover accident, contact an experienced auto defect attorney.