Rollover accidents are terrifying to contemplate. In a way, they epitomize the lack of control inherent in almost any vehicle accident. We know from experience representing individuals in Panama City car accidents that rollovers can leave occupants seriously injured or lead to a loss of life.
According to The News Herald, a rollover accident killed one person and critically injured a second on Friday night. Parker Police Department officials believe a white Nissan Altima travelling on East Business Highway 98 struck a guard rail in the vicinity of Morris Drive, flipping before striking a tree and coming to a stop on the road. 47-year-old Terry Allan Seiffert died at the scene, and officials transported 46-year-old Tasha Todd to Bay Medical Center with critical head and internal injuries. Neither occupant was using a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Police believe that speeding was a factor, but they have not stated which person was driving the car.
In March 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") conducted a study examining rollover crashes. Looking at data from 2004, the study found that one-third of passenger vehicle occupant deaths occurred in vehicles that rolled over. Overall, 2.7% of occupants in rolled over vehicles suffered a fatal injury, versus 0.2% of passengers in vehicles involved in a non-rollover crash. These statistics include 31,693 vehicle occupant fatalities in all types of crashes in 2004 with 10,553 fatally injured in rollover accidents including 8,565 fatal injuries stemming from single-vehicle rollover accidents.
At the time of the NHTSA study, SUVs were more likely to rollover than other vehicles. Notably, this statistic has shifted in recent years, with a CNN article from July 2011 reporting that the driver of a 2009 model car was nearly twice as likely to perish in a rollover accident as the driver of a 2009 model year SUV. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety attributed the change to improved SUV designs and the use of electronic stability control in newer SUV models.
The 2007 NHTSA study also identified other factors that seemed to contribute to the likelihood of a rollover crash. Rollovers occurred more often in older vehicles with young, unbelted drivers with the use of alcohol increasing the rollover risk. Additionally, rollovers occurred most often in speed-related crashes on higher speed limit roads and in non-intersection areas, with passing a bigger risk factor than turning just prior to the crash. In many cases, a driver attempted to correct course and steer when they realized a collision might be imminent. Generally, either the rollover itself or a collision with some form of embankment represented the first harmful event in the crash.
Safety groups compile statistics in an effort to help understand past accidents and prevent future tragedies. Sometimes studies can feel a bit removed, but every statistic involves very real lives. We hope that safety efforts reduce the frequency of stories such as the Parker collision that forever change the lives of the victims and their loved ones.
We also remain committed to the victims of accidents and to helping them recover compensation. If you or a loved one is injured in a rollover crash caused by another driver, a faulty vehicle, or a dangerous road condition, please call for a free consultation with our experienced Panama City personal injury lawyer. Our team is here to help.