In the last ten years, SUV rollovers have become a major problem in San Antonio and greater Texas. There are several factors that contribute to this tragic phenomenon in the states. For example, many manufacturers produce SUVs with an excessively high center of gravity. Sometimes, SUVs possess weak suspension systems or shock absorbers that are not located far enough outboard. The bottom line is that it is absolutely unacceptable when an SUV or any type of vehicle for that matter can roll over on a flat surface – manufacturing defects are absolutely present.
Imagine you or a loved one is properly seat belted and your vehicle rolls over. Now you are facing complete disability as a quadriplegic. A Texas personal injury serving Texas and San Antonio is needed to effectively prosecute these types of manufacturing defects.
One of the most glaring defects is a defectively designed roof. A roof is considered excessively crushed when the crush measures more than 4 inches. The most amazing thing is that these roofs actually meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, which represent the baseline. However, the fact that these roofs meet the federal standards does not pre-empt a suit for personal injury damages.
The history of standards on vehicle roof crush standards is very ironic. When the roof crush is designed in such a way that it does not exceed four (4) inches, a seat belted individual (or even a non-seat belted individual) would not likely suffer rollover injury even when the vehicle exceeds ninety (90) miles per hour.
In fact, the now bankrupt General Motors (GM) at one time possessed the goal of manufacturing vehicles that would not roll over up to 65 mph. Yet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards were modified so that the Federal standard on the crush limit for roofs was greater than 4 inches. Thus, auto manufacturers like GM had little incentive to build SUVs with roofs that did not exceed roof crush limit of 4 inches.
With the rise in gas prices, the decrease in SUV sales, and the increasing emphasis on safety, one hopes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will lower the roof crush limit to a safe level. Recently the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has imposed much stricter roof standards, doubling the requirement for light vehicles weighing up to 6,000 pounds. Now, the roof protecting both the driver and passenger sides must be able to withstand a force equal to 3x the weight of the vehicle. For vehicles between 6,000 to 10,000 pounds, the roof has to be able to withstand a force equal to 1.5x the weight of the vehicle. See the USDOT news release.
These types of vehicle rollovers and roof crush are absolutely unacceptable, and a Rollover Personal Injury attorney can assist you with prosecuting this case with the right mix of investigators and experts.