Roof Caving

Each year in the U. S. approximately 250,000 rollover crashes result in roof crush injuries. These injuries kill over 10,000 people on the roads every year. Serious roof crush injury occurs when roof strength in a vehicle is inadequate. This can result in an accident that leaves little space for survival and opens up paths through which a person can be ejected. Experts have discovered that nearly half of all fatal ejection victims first suffered roof caving injury.

Roof crush injury risks are higher in vehicles with a greater tendency to rollover. SUVs are taller and narrower and are three times more likely to rollover in an accident than passenger cars. In 2003 alone nearly 4,500 people were killed in SUV rollover accidents and many of these victims suffered roof crush injury.

In 1973 the government passed the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216, creating a standard roof strength test to measure the integrity of roof structure in motor vehicles. This test was to apply to motor vehicles weighing six thousand pounds or less. Many SUVs are built to weigh more than this, exempting them from compulsory safety standards that may be crucial to preventing roof crush injury. Because of SUV roof crush injury risks, consumer advocacy groups have urged the federal government to modify standards so that they include any vehicle weighing ten thousand pounds or less.

Overall federal safety standards fail to provide roof strength requirements that adequately protect people from suffering roof crush injury in a rollover automobile accident. Despite federal standards, many vehicle roofs will easily crush a foot or more during a rollover accident. A dynamic and more stringent testing standard must be employed if the government hopes to adequately protect people from sustaining serious roof crush injury in automobile accidents.

The sad truth is that rollover accidents are highly survivable, providing the roof structure remains intact and the passenger compartment is not severely compromised. Windshield reinforcement is a crucial component of vehicle design that could prevent roof caving injury in a rollover accident. When a windshield is destroyed in the course of an accident the strength of the roof is instantly reduced by 33 percent. When the windshield blows out it compromises the strength of the roof and creating a large space through which a person can be ejected from the motor vehicle.

The devastating part of these preventable injuries is that they most often result in serious spinal cord, head, and neck injuries. This type of injury is more often fatal than other injuries sustained in an auto accident. Experts estimate that the cost of improving roof strength in vehicles is minimal; less than $50 per vehicle in most cases. This protection against roof crush injury is often forgone for the sake of greater vehicle profits.

A person injured as the result of a roof crush injury needs to consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in these types of injuries. These injuries are often life changing, and do result in death or life-long disability. A victim can protect their right to recover damages by seeking expert legal counsel.