The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 280,000 rollover accidents are reported each year, costing over 10,000 lives annually. In 2003, 35.7% of fatal SUV accidents resulted in a rollover. That same year, 15.8% of fatal passenger car accidents resulted in a rollover. These figures make it clear that SUVs are much more likely to roll over in serious car accidents.
To help predict the vehicles that have a greater likelihood of rolling over in single-vehicle accidents, NHTSA introduced a rollover rating system in 2001. Reported on a five-star system, the rollover ratings are based on an engineering analysis of each vehicle's center of gravity and the width between the front tires. In its rating system, five stars equals a rollover risk of less than 10 percent, while one star indicates a greater than 40 percent rollover risk. Preservation of the vehicle and its contents is important in the investigation of a rollover accident. Early and thorough investigation and accident reconstruction are often vital to an eventual pursuit of a rollover accident lawsuit. Yaw marks, paint marks, gauges and scratches can be important evidence of directions, speed, rolls and rollover sequence.
Rollover accidents are directly related to a vehicle's stability in turns. A high center of gravity and narrow frame can make an automobile unstable in sharp or fast turns. The problem is much worse with SUVs and in many trucks which usually have a much higher ground clearance than standard passenger vehicles.
To reduce your chances of serious injury in a rollover accident, always wear your seat belt for safety. Drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts are commonly ejected from their vehicle, exposing them to often unnecessary serious and grievous injuries.
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