A terrible fatal car crash happened in Georgetown, California this week involving a pickup truck, DUI and a rollover. The husband of the deceased victim was booked into the El Dorado County Jail on several charges, which included DUI with bodily injury, child endangerment and vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated.
Terrible facts, and the husband will pay for this incident forever. Obviously, there is driver negligence in this case, but it always is worth looking at the crashworthiness of the involved vehicle. The deceased wife and mother in this incident was likely killed due to her position in the vehicle coupled with the area of the rollover. Could faulty design be partly at play in this instance? The husband, and the two children (ages 14 and 3) walked away without injury.
Crashworthiness is the ability of a vehicle to protect its occupants in the event of an impact. The criteria used during testing vehicle crashworthiness depends on several factors including the nature of the impact as well as the type of vehicle involved. Crash testing seeks to reduce the instances of fatal and serious injuries that occur yearly within the U.S., and researches new and improved vehicle safety designs.
Crashworthiness aside, a vehicle rollover is one of the worst accidents. They only occur in approximately 3% of serious crashes but account for approximately 30% of fatalities in passenger vehicles.
However, rollovers do not have to be so deadly. Advances such as rollover-avoidance systems, improved vehicle design, stronger state regulations, and increased use of safety restraints could reduce the fatalities by at least half.
Under the wrong circumstances, any vehicle can become involved in a rollover, however taller and narrower vehicles such as pick-ups (as in the tragedy that happened this week), SUV’s and vans are more susceptible than cars lower to the ground due to their high center of gravity and top-heaviness. The balance is dramatically affected by a combination of speed and turning – for example if a driver makes too sharp of a turn to the left, then over-corrects to the right, that transition can result in a pendulum effect which results in swaying and an ultimate loss of control.
In addition to always wearing a seat belt, keeping your speed under control, and watching the load of the vehicle, another way to avoid rollover or to manage to walk away from one is to own a vehicle that is relatively new. Newer vehicles have more advanced safety systems, two of the most important in terms of rollovers, being side-curtain air bags and electronic stability control.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, call me at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside the Sacramento area, you can call us at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.