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Roof Crush Injuries in Heavy-Duty Pickups

Published: Oct 28, 2016 in Car Accidents, Defective Products, Personal Injury, Truck Accident

According to recent data, rollover crashes are associated with a greater risk of serious injury and death than other types of motor vehicle accidents. Although rollovers account for just 2 percent of all crashes, they are responsible for more than a third of fatalities among passenger vehicle occupants. Any type of vehicle can be involved in a rollover crash, but pickups and SUVs are more susceptible to rolling over because they have higher centers of gravity.

Risk of Roof Crush Injuries

Roof crush, which is the collapse or intrusion of the vehicle’s roof into the passenger compartment, is common in rollover crashes and can often result in severe head, neck, or spinal cord injuries. When roofs crush during a rollover accident, occupants can be ejected through the space created from roof displacement or come into contact with the vehicle itself.

According to the NHTSA, there are about 10,000 deaths each year in rollover crashes and around 667 of those truck accident fatalities are the result of roof crush. Roof crush resistance has been shown to reduce the risk of fatal or debilitating head and neck injuries in vehicle rollovers, but many believe that the existing NHTSA standards are inadequate.

What are the NHTSA Roof Crush Standards?

The NHTSA created new roof crush standards in 2009, which at the time, was the first improvement in over three decades. Under existing standards, the amount of force a vehicle’s roof must withstand is three times the vehicle’s unloaded weight. The existing standard also requires vehicles to meet the force requirements in a two-sided test while maintaining sufficient headroom. The NHTSA standards apply to vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to 10,000 pounds.

The Need for Roof Crush Testing in Heavy-Duty Pickups

Unlike the NHTSA, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts roof-crush ratings. The IIHS determines the strength of a roof by pushing a metal plate at a slow and constant speed. The amount of force applied relative to the vehicle’s weight is known as the strength-to-weight ratio. The IIHS rates vehicles as good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on exact measurements of the vehicle’s peak strength-to-weight ratio before the roof is crushed in 5 inches.

However, neither the NHTSA or the IIHS does roof-crush testing on heavy-duty pickups. Because automakers like Ford and GM use the same cab structures for their light and heavy-duty models, it would be valuable for consumers to know whether the two perform similarly on roof-crush tests. Without roof-crush ratings for heavy-duty trucks, it is unclear whether additional structural reinforcements are necessary to protect against the risk of injury or death in rollover crashes.

How an Alabama Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Can Help

If you’ve suffered injuries due to a roof crush or rollover accident, contact the experienced serious injury lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. Our attorneys have more than 65 years of combined legal experience and we can help you determine your best course of action in the aftermath of a serious accident.

We have fought on behalf of injured victims throughout Alabama and we will work to obtain the maximum compensation possible in your case. Our proven track record of success includes more than 57 cases that have resulted in a settlement or verdict equal to or greater than $1 million and 11 cases in which our clients recovered $5 million or more.

The auto accident lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. are experienced in taking cases involving serious injury to trial. We have won more than $200 million in settlements and jury verdicts. To find out more about how we can best represent you, learn how our Montgomery truck accident lawyers, Mobile truck accident lawyers, Huntsville truck accident lawyers, and Birmingham truck accident lawyers can help you.