US DOT Issues Rule to Reduce Vehicle Ejections During Rollover Accidents

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a new rule aimed at lowering the number of deaths involving passengers ejected from vehicles during rollover accidents. Per the rule, by the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, auto manufacturers have to come up with a countermeasure for light passenger vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds that keeps the equivalent from unbelted adults from moving over 4 inches past the side window opening during a traffic crash.
The new standard will start to go into effect in 2013. Beginning model year 2018, all new cars will have to have this protection.
According to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, rollover accidents are the deadliest type of auto crash. He says the government believes that the new standard will prevent about 476 serious injuries and 373 deaths annually.
Occupant Ejection
A vehicle occupant’s chances of dying go up when he/she is partially or completely thrown from an auto during a collision. Chances of the passenger sustaining a serious traumatic brain injury also go up, because often a passenger will end up striking his/her head against the pavement. Occupation ejection is more likely in a rollover crash.
Auto manufacturers are familiar with the type of safety issues that can increase the chances of occupant ejection and it is their job to make sure these problems are addressed so that the chance of a person ending up falling out of a vehicle—usually through one of the windows—is dramatically decreased.
Our SUV rollover crash lawyers know how to prove liability in a car accident involving occupant ejection. A few common causes of occupant ejection:

  • Seat belt malfunctions
  • Door latch defects
  • Roof crush
  • Poor quality side window glass

href=””_blank”>U.S. Department of Transportation Issues New Ejection Mitigation Rule, NHTSA, January 13, 2011
Ejection Mitigation, NHTSA (PDF)
Related Web Resources:
Rollover, PBS

Our auto products liability lawyers represent clients injured in car crashes where a vehicle defect contributed to causing the collision.


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