Rollover crashes account for only about 2 to 3 percent of all traffic accidents, but 30 to 35 percent of traffic-crash fatalities.
These crashes usually involve a single vehicle; but when a large vehicle, such as a commercial tractor-trailer, overturns, it can cause a multiple-vehicle crash.
All types of traffic accidents, including rollovers, usually involve some degree of driver error. Tire failure is also a factor in some rollover crashes. When driver error or tire failure leads to serious or fatal injuries, the victims, or their families, could be entitled to compensation.
If you’ve suffered an injury, or lost a loved one, in a rollover accident, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. The Evans & Herlihy Law Firm has helped families throughout Texas who have suffered catastrophic losses in vehicle accidents get the compensation they deserve. Contact our office today to request your free, no-obligation case consultation.
Characteristics of Rollover Crashes
Speed is a factor in about 40 percent of fatal rollovers, and nearly half of all fatal rollovers involve alcohol consumption. Most rollovers are also caused by “tripping,” which is when tires leave the travel lane and sink into soft earth, or strike an object, such as a guardrail, curb, or pothole. The force of a tripping impact may cause a vehicle to roll, or a driver may cause the rollover by steering abruptly back into the travel lane.
When driving on the highway, a tire blowout can cause a deadly rollover. That happened in March 2017, on State Highway 73 in Beaumont. A family was traveling in an SUV equipped with three regular tires and a “donut” spare tire. The spare tire blew, causing a rollover, and an unrestrained occupant was ejected from the vehicle and died.
Commercial Truck Rollovers
In March 2018, two people were injured on Interstate 20 in Fort Worth when a tanker truck overturned and caused a crash. Tankers are one of two types of commercial trucks with a heightened risk of rollover; the other type is a tractor-trailer.
Tankers are relatively stable when empty. Most tankers involved in rollover crashes have full or partial loads, according to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The fluid inside tanks may shift and cause the truck to overturn – but the FMCSA found driver decision errors were a factor in many tanker rollover crashes.
Tractor-trailers can become unstable if the driver brakes abruptly or swerves – the trailer may swing forward and cause the entire rig to overturn. This type of crash, called a jackknife accident, is especially dangerous, because a tractor-trailer may impact several other vehicles.
Vehicle Safety Features and Rollover Prevention
Many modern vehicles include features that may help drivers avoid a rollover, such as:
- Curve speed warning – This feature uses GPS to detect when a vehicle is approaching a turn too quickly, alerting the driver with a dashboard warning light.
- Tire pressure warning – Some vehicles alert drivers when one or more tires are underinflated.
- Traction control – This feature helps vehicles maintain traction on slick surfaces.
- Electronic stability control – This feature stabilizes a car when it veers abruptly (although it is not guaranteed to prevent a rollover).
- Antilock brakes – These brakes won’t “lock up,” so the driver should be able to maintain control of the vehicle during a hard-braking maneuver.
Help for Crash Victims
People who survive a rollover crash are often left with serious and disabling injuries. They may be hospitalized for extensive periods, unable to work, and require ongoing physical therapy and assistance. So the financial impact of rollover crashes can be devastating for families.
The Evans & Herlihy Law Firm has helped families throughout Texas get the compensation they need to move on with their lives in the best way possible. If you’ve suffered a serious injury in a crash, or your immediate family was killed in a rollover accident, please contact us to request your free, no-obligation case consultation.