Safety Improvements Made to SUVs
Despite the great number of rollover accidents and the damages and fatalities that resulted in such accidents, there are still no standards regarding rollover accidents and vehicle safety. Public educations programs can only rate the rollover propensity of a vehicle and it is not the same as the performance standards, which would require protection for the occupant of the vehicle in an event of a rollover.
Roof strength is a great factor in fatalities for rollover accidents. Despite having seatbelts on, if the roof collapses it can still injured or kill occupants inside the vehicle. A collapsed roof in an SUV rollover accident is said to contribute 600 fatalities and 900 injuries every year. Although the roof-crush regulation has been recently updated that changed the vehicle’s safety significantly, many safety advocates still believe more improvements can be done. Presently, many people believe that the safety standard fails in a number of ways, most importantly that safety belts in SUVs are not necessarily required to keep the occupants inside the vehicle while in a rollover, leaving the occupants at risks of being ejected out of the vehicle. Ejection out of a vehicle can result in serious injuries or even death.
Additionally, there are limitations to the new safety regulations, particularly when it comes to lawsuits. Under the new safety standard, occupants injured in a rollover accident do not have any legal claim against the manufacturers to make the roof stronger than what the current standard requires. This could lead to a great number of injury or insurance claims being dismissed without getting a trial. Since insurance companies are typically the ones who pay out in these circumstances (rather than the driver who caused the accident), if the insurer refuses to help, it can leave the victims in a bad place, according to Habush Habush & Rottier S.C.®.
There are safety improvements that car manufacturers made to help protect occupants, such as the electronic stability system (which helps detect possible rollover incidents and prevents them automatically) and side-impact airbags, but they can only do so little. Having a stronger vehicle that can withstand a rollover accident is a better prevention than just added safety protections.