Causes of Car Accidents

Sep 19, 2014 by

When fatal car accidents happen, there is a tendency for people to look for a serious cause for it to at least mitigate the tragedy it represents. If the brakes failed, for instance, or the ignition switch failed, these are at least circumstances that are beyond the control of the driver. Unfortunately, too many car accidents happen for the most ridiculous reasons.

One of these is driving while intoxicated with drugs or alcohol, but this is increasingly being rivaled in frequency by the use of handheld devices, mostly texting and mostly involving teenagers. This may be because while most states ban texting while driving, including Kentucky, it is not sanctioned with the same severity as drunk driving. This is a form of reckless driving that according to the website of the Sampson Law Firm can be life-changing, and not in a good way.

Another cause is distraction, such as changing the radio station, fiddling with the GPS, or simply picking up something from the car floor. These are momentary distractions, but it only takes a moment for a child to run across the street or for a car in front to suddenly brake.

And then there are some accidents that have no immediately apparent cause. A recent single-car accident on the Second Street Bridge in Louisville, Kentucky was reported where the driver died on the scene. It seems that for some reason the driver who had been driving south had drifted to the northbound lane and then swerved back only to strike an iron support of the bridge hard enough to kill her. Investigation into the incident is underway, but reports that the driver had been going 65 mph on a 35 mph stretch does not explain why the car would swerve the way it did.

In that instance, only the driver and some property were affected, but it could easily have involved other vehicles and people. If you have been seriously hurt in a negligent car accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Consult with a skilled car accident lawyer in the area to review your case and give advice about what can be done.

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Sub-standard Roof Pillars: Cause of Easy Roof Collapse during Rollover Accidents

Jul 22, 2013 by

Besides head-on collisions, another motor vehicle-related accident, which always results to severe injuries or even wrongful death, is roof crush or roof collapse during a rollover accident. Rollover crashes severely injure at least 24,000 individuals and kill up to 10,000 in the US every year. And though any vehicle can roll over, taller and narrower ones, such as pickups, SUVs, vans and buses are those more prone to roll over due to their heavy tops.

Many vehicles are designed with a reduced strength and size of roof and supporting structure in an attempt to lessen vehicle cost and weight; this, however, also significantly diminishes the safety of the driver and other passengers. To lessen weakness of roof structure, which is the main cause of car roofs crushing down on the driver’s head and spine, the government has established the following roof crush resistance standards:

  • Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216 (FMVSS 216)/49 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 571.216 – for multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPVs), passenger cars, buses and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less;
  • Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216a (FMVSS 216a)/49 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 571.216a (upgraded standard) – for multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPVs), passenger cars, buses and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less. This does not apply to school buses, some convertibles, trucks built in two or more stages, and some others.

One of the main reasons for roof collapses is roof pillar failure. Car pillars are the vertical structures that support the roof of a car. A car usually has six roof pillars, which go in pairs: the A-pillars, B-pillars, and C-pillars. As these pillars’ main functions are to support the vehicle and keep the roof from crushing down on you during a rollover accident, these serve as part of your best protection, therefore.

The B-pillars are that vertical supports placed between the front and rear doors, while the C-pillars are those that join the rear side windows to the rear window. The A-pillars, which plays a key function in driver safety, anchors the windshield, the beginning of the roof and the front side windows; these also serve as channels for electrical wiring for overhead lighting and lights at the rear of the vehicle, contain curtain airbag tethers and other tether attachments, provide a sturdy area for SUV and big pickup’s grab handles and may even integrate speakers for the vehicle’s audio system.

Though required to ensure reliable strength from the outside, inside, it must provide a soft design that will offer much protection to unbelted car occupants during head impacts. Despite the many functions of the A-pillars, manufactures ought to ensure that these do not move during rollover accidents to help ensure the greatest protection to occupants. Keeping people safe in the event of an accident is one of many things car manufacturers have to be concerned with. For drivers, this risk might manifest itself in auto insurance premiums. According to auto accident attorneys, passengers in safer cars are statistically less likely to be severely harmed in an accident.

Various road safety agencies hold manufacturers liable for pillar collapse during rollover accidents because such accidents are typically a result of poor-quality materials, faulty vehicle design and the manufacturers’ failure to properly test the reliability of the roof pillars they have produced, making them totally answerable for every injury and death their sub-quality standard products result to.

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Rollover Accidents and the Rollover Rating System

Jul 2, 2013 by

It’s commonly known that tall cars like SUVs and pickup trucks are more prone to rolling over in an accident. This is because the center of gravity in these types of vehicles is higher than in sedans and other lower cars. They are therefore more unstable when their paths change direction.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that “most rollovers result from the vehicle leaving the roadway and tripping,” or tipping over to the side that has left the road because the center of gravity has been upset. Other causes of rollover accidents include driver errors, collisions with debris on the road or other cars, dangerous road conditions, and defective vehicle parts or vehicle design.

Accoording to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, some of the blame for rollover accidents may be attributed to the lack of a federal standard on rollover rates for any kind of car. In 2001, the NHTSA took a step toward establishing such a standard by researching the rollover rates of different car models and representing these rates through a star system – five stars represents a rollover rate of 10 percent or less, and one star represents a rate of 40 percent or more. This “rollover rating system” is currently only meant to inform consumers on the potential risks of purchasing a specific car model, but could be used as a safety requirement for manufacturers in the future. In that event, the ratings could also be used by car insurers to determine what it may cost to insure that particular vehicle. There are a lot of factors that are used by insurance companies to calculate rates.

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