Pickup truck rollovers happen all over the United States on a daily basis. The propensity to rolling over can vary by the model, tire sizes, loads and usage. Over the last twenty years most pickup trucks now have safety features like electronic stability control (ESC) to reduce the risk of rollovers, also called by some the rollover computer. While ESC has been a life saver, rollovers of pickup trucks and deaths still occur at alarming rate.
Often pickup truck drivers involved in rollovers are forced to make sudden avoidance maneuvers along with hard braking and steering to avoid a road hazard, animal, deer or another vehicle in their lane. Vehicle stability, bed loads, driver fatigue, poorly maintained brakes and worn tires can make truck rollovers some of the deadliest crashes on the road.
Why Do Trucks Rollover?
Today pickup trucks are often powerful and high-performance. These trucks are designed for highway use, work use, and off-road use. They often have powerful engines and enhanced suspension systems, which can cause a higher center of gravity and make them more prone to flipping over when driven aggressively or with sudden inputs of braking and steering in emergency on-the-road situations.
- Older pickup trucks with older suspension and shocks manufactured before ESC have a higher risk of rollovers compared to more recent pickup models with improved safety.
Pickup trucks ,especially a large truck with modifications, such as bigger or oversized tires coupled with lifting of the suspension can greatly increase the risk of a rollover accident. These custom modifications affect the vehicle’s stability and handling ability. Large truck rollovers according to NHTSA occur more often due to the shifting of the center of gravity
- Overloading a pickup truck can be dangerous. The increased loads or number of passengers can raise the center of gravity and increase the risk of the truck rolling over, particularly during sudden maneuvers, braking, or on uneven terrain or change from pavement to grass or gravel.
- Road conditions before rolling, such as wet roads causing hydroplaning, black ice or icy roads causing loss of directional control, can increase the chances of a rollover, particularly in pickup trucks with less traction due to rear-wheel drive.
The rollover risk of a rollover crash of a specific vehicle or pickup truck including the vehicle’s design, weight, tires, and other safety features all calculated into the vehicle’s safety ratings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). These ratings can greatly help the novice on what to expect when driving different vehicles, rollover risks, head-on collisions, and side-impact safety.
Why are Trucks More Prone to Rollover Accidents?
Pickup trucks and other large trucks on the road can be more prone to rollovers compared to smaller SUVs and passenger cars due to a number of factors related to their original design and handling and load capabilities. Some of the main reasons why pickup trucks more than other vehicles may be involved in more rollover accident deaths.
Higher Center of Gravity of Pickup Trucks compared to passenger cars. The higher the center of gravity (CG) or the more “top-heavy” the higher the rate of rollovers:
Weight Distribution: Just as important as center of gravity is the distribution of weight in a pickup truck. Unbalanced loads between the passenger area and the bed greatly affect stability.
Towing Related Rollovers: Pickup trucks are used often used for U-Haul type trailers, cargo trailers, lowboys and vehicle haulers. When pulling or towing loads that exceed the towing capacity, the trailer itself, lack of trailer brakes and unbalanced loads can decrease stability, braking and steering. Uhaul trailers and other rental trailer companies often rent to inexperienced drivers therefore increasing the chances of unbalanced loads and rollovers.
Beefed Up or Stiff Suspension Systems Some pickup trucks are built heavy duty suspension systems designed for heavy loads and use. These heavier springs, shocks and traction bars can cause a stiffer ride and reduced handling characteristics in sudden emergency driving scenarios.
Tire and Wheel Sizes – Changes to the sizes, width or height of the tires or wheels, can affect stability. Like lifting the pickup with a after-market lift kit, oversized tires may affect the vehicle’s handling ability and increase the risk of truck rollovers.
Road Conditions Affect Rollovers: Whether the road is icy, patches of black ice, deep puddles of water from a recent storm, loose rocks, or gravel, bumpy (washboard effect), these condition decrease handling and increase rollovers. Pickup truck drivers often can be suddenly confronted with these conditions and not be prepared.
Lack of Electronic Stability Control (ESC): As stated above any vehicles, SUVs and trucks did not come equipped with anti-rollover computers or electronic stability control (ESC) systems.
Injuries from Pickup Truck Rollover Accidents
Rollover accidents can be very severe or even fatal due to the excessive forces involved in an on-the road rollover at highway speeds. The potential for the vehicle’s roof or sides to collapse. The major types of injuries in rollover accidents include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) from Weak Rooks and Roof Pillar Collars
- Spinal Cord Injuries such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, and paralysis
- Fractures and Broken Bones:
- Chest Injuries: Blunt Trauma to Chest
- Head and Facial Injuries: Closed Head Injuries, Seizures and Concussions
- Lacerations and Abrasions: Road Rash and Traumatic Amputations
- Burns from Fuel Fed Fires Burns and Injuries
- Whiplash and Cervical Neck Injuries and Positional Asphyxia
- Mental Anguish and Trauma:
- Fatal Injuries
/The pickup truck driver in order to lower the rollover rate and decrease rollover accident victims’ injuries, must make sure that all are seat belted. No doubt seat belts save lives, by almost eliminating chances of ejection or partial ejection due to a rollover. The inclusion of side curtain airbags, door mounted side impact airbags, and knee bolster airbags along with stronger roofs help reduce injuries.
Pickup Truck Rollover Lawsuit For Serious Injuries and Deaths
The Willis Law Firm, headquartered in Houston, Texas has represented 100’s of victims of SUV & Truck rollover accidents and roof crush injuries nationwide. A rollover accident lawsuit may include negligence allegations against the automaker, tire and parts makers for
- weak roofs
- seat belt unbuckling or releases,
- door lock or door latch opening during a rollover
- seatback failures,
- airbag failure to deploy,
- defective or inadequate airbags,
- roof crush/collapse failures,
- roof pillar failure,
- welding seam defects
- tire blowouts and tire tread failures
A pickup truck weighs more than other vehicles as such crushes down further in truck accidents and crashes when a rollover occurs. Sadly, truck driver error, tire failures, and excessive speed can create numerous truck accident victims. Pickup truck rollover accidents and passenger vehicle accidents are similar, but the consequences and injuries to the passenger and truck driver can be much different due to the heavy weight of the truck. Often the roof crushes down further than the top of the steering wheel. When this happens, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and death often occur.
Common Models of Pickup Truck Involved in Rollovers
Brands and models of pickup truck rollovers occur most with the following truck models:
- Ford F150 Pickup Trucks
- Ford F250 Truck and Super Duty
- Ford F350 Trucks
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- Chevy Silverado Z-71 Truck
- GMC 2500 and 3500
- Dodge Ram 1500
- Ram Heavy Duty 1500
- Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 Trucks
- GMC 2500 /3500
Many of the truck drivers and passengers involved in these truck rollovers sustained severe injuries and even death when the truck rolled or truck overturned. Truck rollovers are the most dangerous and will continue to be until vast improvements to the roofs, seatbelts and handling have occurred.
Truck Rollovers with Larger Pickups
The most dangerous truck rollover accidents with the highest percentage of deaths and serious injuries occur in rollover accidents involving the bigger and heavy pickups. Per NHTSA and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, because of the speed and the forces involved, pickup truck rollover crashes are usually very destructive and deadly events.
In many pickup truck accidents, the driver is often blamed for oversteering, over-corrections, faulty evasive maneuvers or braking, failure to stay within their lane, and many other contributing factors. In many larger truck rollovers, the blame needs to be turned toward pickup truck manufacturers. Truck rollover accidents involving a large truck platform sometimes with extra rear tires called duellies, with stable with weak roofs that crush or collapse during a rollover accident cause severe life-changing injuries and deaths. Other common safety problems with many trucks include:
- Lack of stronger roofs to prevent roof crush injuries
- High center of gravity
- Seatbelts that can open or release during a rollover
- Ejections in rollovers due to weak door latches/door locks or weak sunroofs
- Absence of roll protection, roll bar, or roll cage leading to severe roof crush pillar collapse
- Lack of window glazing (laminated safety glass) to prevent ejections in the event of truck rollover
- Lack of a B-Pillar in certain models pickup trucks between the doors, allowing for excessive roof crush
Other Types of Larger Truck Rollovers
Various types of bigger trucks can be involved in rollover accidents as well. The dangers to the truck drivers can vary depending on the type of truck’s design, size, load, usage, age, speed and other factors. Here are some types of bigger trucks that may be prone to truck rollover accidents:
- Semi-Trucks (Tractor-Trailers): also known as 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers or big rigs carrying heavy loads can rollover in icy conditions and on sharp turns and corners. Many also experience wrecks and rollovers from front steering tire defects and failures.
- Tanker Trucks: have a rollover risk, especially when the load shifts within the tank of internal tank Built-in baffles can reduce this sudden shifting of the liquid load problem.
- Box Trucks: can also be involved in rollovers due to high center of gravity when fully loaded can cause load shifting during sharp turns.
- Dump Trucks: Dump truck rollover accidents, often found in gravel, sand and rock hauling industries, may roll over if improperly loaded, or if the dump bed is raised while the truck is in motion.
- Concrete Mixers also known as cement trucks used to haul cement, ready-mix or concrete, can have a high center of gravity and roll over due heavy wet concrete. If the truck drivers hauling concrete make a sharp turn, a cement truck rollover can occur. Brake failures are common with cement trucks in hilly areas with full loads. Cement trucking companies know of this danger and often are negligent in not maintaining the brakes.
- Garbage Truck Accidents & Rollovers can happen due to the truck rolling over rollovers due to irregular or uneven loads. Trash trucks or garbage trucks like cement trucks are notorious for rolling over at high speeds with full due to the increased center of gravity. Trucking companies operating waste disposal trucks are often owned by multi-billion dollar companies.
- Flatbed Trucks: Flatbed trucks used for transporting cargo on an open platform can be involved in rollovers if the cargo is not properly secured or comes untied, unchained or unsecured during travel
- Livestock Trailer rollovers and cattle trailers: Heavy duty pickups and semi-tractor trucks pulling livestock trailers can roll over if the animals in the trailer shift from side to side or suddenly move to one side around inside the trailer during turns. As a result, the cattle are often shoved into tight quarters to prevent movement. This can cause a loss of control and a potential rollover with severe injuries to the truck driver and other vehicles nearby.
- Utility and Bucket Trucks: Trucking companies with electric utility and bucket trucks can experience rollovers if the equipment is not properly operated, the boom is fully or over extended or if the truck stabilizers are not properly used.
- Armored Trucks or Armored Cars can be at risk of rollovers, especially due to fast speeds and turns around corners. The nature of armored cars is that they are extremely heavy with metal protective plates which can affect stability.
Recreational Vehicles (RVs) & 5th Wheel Trailers. Another area of increased rollover risk is the operation of RVs and pulling of travel trailers & 5th wheel trailers. The height of the trailers and RVs along often being over-loaded with supplies, water, waste water and loads over roofs, make these fun vehicles, potentially deadly in rollover overs.
Pickup Truck Rollover Accident Attorney
The Willis Law Firm specializes in the prosecution of serious injury cases, involving burns, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, closed head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and wrongful death lawsuits from a SUV & pickup truck rollover accident rollovers, roof crush, roof collapse failure, seat belt defects, airbag deployments, door lock openings and other crashworthiness issues.
If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has been injured or died in a Pickup Truck Rollover Accident and you believe that the design or defect of the vehicle caused your injuries or losses, visit our our Free Online Rollover Evaluation Form Below or call us at 1-800-883-9858.
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