Rollover accidents have a higher fatality rate than any other type of crash, making them the most dangerous motor vehicle accident. Los Angeles presents a unique set of challenges for drivers that make the city particularly at risk for rollover accidents. Here’s what you need to know about rollover accidents.
Rollover Accident Statistics
According to the NHTSA, although rollover accidents constitute only 2.1% of all accidents per year, they account for almost 35% of all accident-related fatalities. In 2010 alone, nearly 7,600 people died in rollover accidents.
SUV’s have the highest risk of rollover among consumer passenger vehicles, and rollover accidents in SUV’s specifically have the highest rate of fatality—in 2016, 47% of SUV occupants killed in accidents were in rolled vehicles, compared with 43% of fatalities in pickup trucks and 22% of fatalities in passenger cars.
Although rollovers and resulting injuries and deaths spiked with the popularization of SUV’s, according to the IIHS there has been a sharp decline in incidents of rollover-related deaths since the implementation of stricter regulations and improvements in SUV design and technology, largely responsive to a 2000 NCSA report demonstrating the heightened risk of ‘light trucks’ (like SUV’s). Rollover fatality rate has declined to 5 driver deaths per million registered vehicles in 2016, down from a high of 27 driver deaths per million registered vehicles in 2000 (or around 32,000 deaths in total).
What Causes Rollovers?
Most rollovers happen when a driver loses control of their vehicle, and the vehicle begins to slide sideways. If interrupted by even a small obstacle, such as a curb or uneven ground, this sideways momentum can result in (especially top-heavy) vehicles to tip over.
Rollovers can also happen if a driver attempts to turn their vehicle too aggressively, for example attempting too tight of a turn or attempting a turn without first sufficiently slowing their vehicle. In these instances, the frictional force between the tire of the vehicle and the road can cause the vehicle to tip over. Rollovers also happen when a vehicle crashes onto the side of another vehicle causing it to flip onto its side.
Factors that Contribute to Rollovers
Several factors increase the risk of rollover. Several of the risk factors are particularly aggravated by the unique circumstances while driving in of the city of Los Angeles.
- Vehicle type. Although all vehicle types can potentially roll over, taller and narrower vehicles are at a much higher risk. SUV’s, vans, and pickups have a higher susceptibility to rollovers than sedans or hatchbacks.
- Driving at higher speed increases the risk of rollover. 40% of fatal rollover crashes involve excessive speeding, and nearly 75% occur in areas with speed limits of 55 MPH or higher. Los Angeles is a particularly risky area because of its more than 500 miles of high speed-limit interstates, freeways, and expressways, as well as thousands of miles of arterial and collector roadways.
- Alcohol impairment increases the risk of reckless driving or loss of control. Nearly half of all fatal rollover accidents involve alcohol. This is particularly a risk in Los Angeles, where impaired driving has historically been a massive problem (around 36,000 DUI arrests are made annually, though this number has been decreasing since the introduction and popularization of ride-sharing apps).
What to do if you have been in a Rollover Accident
First, contact the authorities, call for a police report, and seek medical attention if necessary. Then, contact a qualified Los Angeles rollover accident lawyer. The award-winning personal injury law firm The Dominguez Firm has substantial experience assisting victims of roll-over accidents in Los Angeles. Find out how we can help you by calling today at 800-818-1818, for a free consultation.