The U.S. Government typically strives for some level of vehicle performance standards in the context of occupant protection in all areas of crash safety. Generally speaking, vehicles are held to these standards in an effort to keep occupants protected in an accident. Surprisingly enough, practically all situations are covered by these performance standards except for rollover accidents.
The closest thing to a performance standard that the government requires is the roof crush rule. Like most other safety requirements, the roof crush rule was created after testing. Unfortunately, its effectiveness has been somewhat in question since it was adopted. This is because the roof crush rule was created after crush tests on a stationary vehicle and not based on the results of any moving vehicles. And, as you may have guessed, rollover accidents typically do not occur when a vehicle is stationary.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a collapsing roof accounts for some 900 injuries and 600 deaths each year. These numbers reflect both restrained and unrestrained individuals. The historic roof crush rule required vehicles to withstand one and a half times their own weight on their roof without moving more than five inches. In 2009, updates to the roof crush rule changed the requirements and made it mandatory for vehicles to withstand three times their weight without collapsing enough to touch a passenger’s head.
Although the newest changes to the roof crush rule were made to improve passenger safety, the rule is still not a definitive safety standard and leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, the heaviest of all passenger vehicles, which are designed to carry several occupants, used to be completely exempt from crush standards. Now under the new roof crush rule, they are still only required to hold one and a half times their weight. Without rollover accident vehicle performance standards, there is no telling if roof collapse will ever be prevented.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury due to a vehicle rollover, you may benefit by working with an experienced attorney. With their help, you may be able to receive the compensation you need to recover.