Jacksonville Rollover Accident Deaths: Roof Strength in Question

A woman is hospitalized after her car swerved, flipped, and crashed into a utility pole in a serious auto accident in Florida on Jacksonville’s Westside last Tuesday night.

Witnesses say they saw the car swerve on Shindler Rd as if it were passing a vehicle, but there was no vehicle to pass. The car then flipped and hit a utility pole and broke it in half, according to a report. The female driver was taken to the hospital. At this time we do not know her condition, but we hope she survives and is not seriously injured.

Another driver was not so lucky. On the Northside, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office say a 23-year-old man traveling at a high rate of speed took a turn too fast, hit a mailbox, tried to correct and his car flipped several times. He was taken to the hospital where he later died due to the Jacksonville auto accident. Our condolences go out to his survivors for his loss.

Both of these cases highlight the importance of roof strength to keep the motorist alive in the event of an auto accident. Rollover accidents in Florida are among the deadliest crashes on our roads today killing about 10,000 people every year from head and neck injuries that occur when the roof caves in.

Ford experienced millions in lawsuit losses when it was revealed that engineers had encouraged stronger roof strength, but Ford had argued that roof strength did not affect the outcome of a crash.

New regulations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, will make the roof resistance capable of withstanding a force equal to three times the weight of the vehicle. Currently the standard is 1.5 times the weight for light vehicles up to 6,000 pounds.

NHTSA plans on implementing a 1.5 times standard for heavier vehicles that range from 6,000 to 10,000 pounds. Previously there was no standard.

The improvements will also include an electronic stability control system that helps prevent rollovers in the first place.

The bad news is we have to wait. The phase-in will begin in September in three years and should be completed after the 2017 model. That’s eight years away for something that should have been standard operating procedure.

Consumers should not have to wait for improvements that long ago were proven to save lives. An experienced Jacksonville personal injury attorney at Farah and Farah can determine whether roof crush standards caused catastrophic neck injuries that led to an injury or death. Waiting another eight years does not let car manufacturers off the hook from that reality.