Good news for automobile safety advocates – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently passed a new rule requirin light vehicles to have stronger roofs. According to the NHTSA, the new regulation could save about 135 lives per year in rollover crashes, which is the most fatal type of all highway car crashes.
According to the Agency, of the 10,000 rollover deaths nationally per year, about 667 die as a result of the roof being crushed. In addition to the 135 lives they estimate the new rule could save, it may also prevent over 1,000 serious injuries. Unfortunately, the rule does not go into effect until 2012, and does not have to be enforced in all vehicles until 2017.
The ruling requires that passenger cars and light vehicles less than 6,000 pounds must have roofs that support three times the curb weight of the vehicle, which is double the previous standard of 1.5. While, heavier vehicles between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds still only have to support 1.5 times their weight, until this rule, they were previously unregulated.
I applaud the NHTSA as I believe that it is time that the agencies designated to protect the public, deal with this serious problem in a meaningful way. Compulsory seat belt use along with crush resistant roofs will give everyone a fighting chance to survive an unexpected roll over crash. As an accident attorney in Gainesville, Ocala and the surrounding areas, I have represented many safe drivers who were forced into taking evasive action to avoid a careless driver only to wind up being seriously injured in a roll over accident and sustaining multiple injuries as a result.