CHEVY BLAZER HISTORY
Chevrolet introduced the Blazer name back in 1969 with a very utilitarian sport utility built on a shortened version of its full-size 4-wheel-drive pickup platform. When Chevy introduced its first midsize sport utility in 1983 to compete with the Ford Bronco II. It was named the S-10 Blazer and the full-size sport utility retained the Blazer name. While the numbers of Blazer rollovers were not as high as Ford Bronco II rollovers, the severity of injuries and deaths were similar.In 1995 both vehicles were redesigned and the midsize sport utility adopted the Blazer name, while the full-size sport utility became known as the Tahoe. The Blazer received a fresh new look for the 1998 model year and a new all-wheel-drive system in 2001.
BLAZER ROLLOVER & ROOF CRUSH / ROOF COLLAPSE PROBLEM
With the growing numbers of Chevy S10 Blazers and Chevy S-10 Pickups on the road, so are the number of Blazer rollovers increasing as well. Rollovers are not of course confined to just SUVs, as vans, small pick up trucks and many small subcompacts rollover as well. However, the smaller the vehicles, usually the less deformation of the roof during a rollover. In fact, the mid-size and large SUV vehicles, Chevy Blazers, usually can not withstand a rollover without serious roof crush or roof pillar collapse. The problem with most SUVs is that not only do they have weak roofs, but they for the most part are unstable as well and have a tendency to roll.
In a 1990 memo from General Motors to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicating that to partially strengthen the roof of the new model, 1992 S-10 Blazer, it would need a re-tooling cost plus $9.00 in extra metal, which would add 5 pounds to the overall weight of the vehicle. This simple solution could have saved 100’s of lives and the American motorist if given a chance would have gladly paid the extra money to have been afforded extra protection. For more information on Rollovers-Roof Crush
CHEVY BLAZER S10 ROLLOVER PROPENSITY
The Chevy S10 Blazer is a mid-sized sports utility vehicle (SUV). Most all SUVs have a high center of gravity and can be unstable on the road, especially in quick lane changes and emergency avoidance and braking maneuvers. In theses circumstances, the Chevy S10 Blazer like other SUVs, can become very difficult to handle and control leading to a rollover.Although SUVs are designed to be driven off the road, very few have rollbars or other roof crush protection. And to make matters worse, few meet the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration roof safety standards for automobiles [as weak as those standards are]. The chief hazard occurs when taking emergency action after steering in one direction and then being forced to rapidly correct in the opposite direction, such as a typical avoidance maneuver with a road hazard, a deer, a dog or even a child in the roadway. Blazer potential rollover problem combined with a tire blowout, tire failure or tire tread separation can make a Chevy Blazer very difficult to control. The results often times is a Chevy Blazer rollover. Rollover occurs because of the absence of a lower center of gravity and a wider track width, which allows most automobiles to skid, spin and recover. But when taking a common evasive maneuver that car drivers safety complete every day, rapidly corrective action causes SUVs to trip and roll.
Another Chevy Blazer rollover situation is created when there is a sudden tire failure, either from a road hazard type blowout or from a tire tread separation. This sudden loss of control can cause the back end of the SUV, van or light truck to swing out or “fishtail”,resulting in the vehicle skidding out and sliding sideways in the direction of travel. When this occurs, the vehicle can often trip and go airborne, starting the rollover. Rollovers are the most common cause of roof crush. Over 10,000 people are fatally injured each year in rollover crashes. The causal relationship between rollovers and harm to occupants from roof crush has been recognized as early as the 1930’s. Nevertheless, the automotive industry denies the relationship between roof crush and occupant injuries.
The main part of the vehicle’s structural support system, the roof creates a “non-encroachment zone” or “survival space” that should protect occupants in a crash. If a roof crushes inward substantially in an accident, occupants may suffer disabling head and neck injuries or even death. Most passenger vehicles and many SUVs do not have enough headroom to allow for more than three to four inches of crush without significantly increasing the risk of serious injury or death. NHTSA’s FMVSS 216, sets the minimum strength requirements for a vehicle’s roof crush resistance, but does not require manufacturers to conduct dynamic rollover tests on roofs.
In a Blazer rollover, the Blazer’s roof can crush into the occupant space in several different ways. Matchboxing, pillar collapse and header collapse are the most common ways that this occurs. In most cases, a stronger roof support system would have prevented most of the serious neck, head and spinal injuries. To the untrained observer, roof pillars of most vehicles appear solid and sturdy, especially strong enough to withstand a roof crush in a rollover. The surprises come through when one looks at a cross-section of the pillar. Most are nothing more than folded/molded corrugated sheet metal, being hollow inside. Therefore, when impact occurs the metal folds over into the empty inner space allowing more folding or crushing to continue. Tests show that if the inner hollow part of the roof pillars are either filled with a high density foam or honey combed structure, then roof crush is at a minimal, thus saving lives!!
When the roof collapses or invades the safety zone, then the neck fractures often occur. These result from shear and flexion forces unto the neck and spinal cord of the occupants.Roof crush injuries are caused by the energy of the vehicle in a roll creating compressive forces pushing down on the top of skull when the head is in an upright position. The compression causes a bursting fracture in the C5 to C7 of the cervical spine. This bursting fracture causes a loss of intravertebral space both anterior and posterior.
In other rollovers, the roof intruding are not the cause of injury. Another type of serious neck and head injury occurs when the occupant “dives” into the roof, resulting in the head flexing forward before receiving an impact to the top of the head. This causes the bone in cervical vertebrae to fracture, (NOT A BURST). The posterior corner of the vertebrae then impinges directly against the spinal cord resulting in loss of anterior vertebrae body height. Diving type injuries can happen to belted occupants, who for many reasons become unbelted or unrestrained during a rollover. In some rollovers, the seat belt buckles can release or unlatch allowing the occupants to be ejected or severely injured in the rollover. Seat belt defects include inertia separation / release, excessive slack, false latching and inadvertent or accidental release due to poor seatbelt buckle design.
THE ESSENTIALS TO A BLAZER ROLLOVER & ROOF CRUSH CASE
- Vehicle preservation and accident site inspection as soon after the accident as possible.
- Preservation and storage of the vehicle in its condition after the accident.
- Having an experienced accident investigator to take accurate and complete statements of all occupants, law enforcers, EMS personal and witnesses.
- Having an Accident Reconstruction Engineer/ Expert determine how the accident occurred.
- Having Biomedical or Biomechanical experts to determine what part of the accident or vehicle caused the plaintiffs injuries.
- Interview the injured parties treating medical physicians.
- In catastrophic injuries, the resulting in paraplegia, quadriplegia, or serious head injuries, hiring a life care plan consultant to evaluate the cost of medical care to the seriously injured plaintiff and estimate ALL medical and life care needs over this persons life.