According to the NHTSA, roughly 600 people are killed each year and 900 are injured due to collapsing car roofs after a rollover. However, regulations regarding the stability of car roofs had not been updated since they originally went into effect in 1973. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216 required a vehicle’s roof to be able to withstand a force equal to 1.5 times it weight up to 5,000 pounds without moving more than five inches.
In 2009, crash test rules were updated to include all passenger vehicles up to 10,000 pounds. Vehicles weighing less than 6,000 pounds now have to be able to withstand a force of up to three times its weight without bending far enough to touch an average male passenger’s head. Vehicles that weigh between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds only have to withstand a force of up to 1.5 times its weight.
Critics say that cars should be able to withstand forces equivalent to four times its weight. Additionally, they say that crash testing doesn’t adequately simulate a rollover because the plate pressing on the roof isn’t applied at the correct angle. Under existing rules, automakers may be shielded or otherwise protected from lawsuits, which means that those hurt or killed by a collapsed roof after a rollover may have their cases dismissed.
Car accident victims may suffer serious injuries that may result in chronic pain and a lower quality of life. Neck, back and other injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents may also limit where and when an individual may be able to work. Those who have been injured in such an accident may wish to speak to a personal injury attorney to determine the remedies that may be available.