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How Protected is the Roof of a Car in a Rollover Accident?

How Protected is the Roof of a Car in a Rollover Accident?

In a rollover accident, one of the worst things that can happen is for the vehicle's roof to collapse. When this occurs, what would have otherwise been a non-injurious wreck could suddenly lead to disability or death. To prevent such an occurrence, the federal government mandates that the roofs of most cars must be built with certain safety standards in mind, particularly roof crush resistance.

Regrettably, not all vehicles on the road conform to these standards. You or a loved one may have suffered due to a recent roof structure collapse in a rollover accident, which is why our Dallas attorneys would like to discuss this matter.

What are the Requirements for Vehicle Roof Structure?

Generally, it should be expected by individual motorists, as well as society at large, that a decently designed automobile ought to support its own weight in the event that it rolls over. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA"), a subsidiary of the US Department of Transportation, requires all auto manufacturers to abide by a certain set of safety standards with regard to vehicle production. Therefore, the FMCSA has certain requirements for the production of roof structures, on top of the other aspects of vehicle production that they monitor (e.g., seating position and windshield wiping). Specifically, these requirements with vehicular roof crush resistance.

Under section 571.216 of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, all covered vehicles must be tested for roof structure integrity. In such a test, the left and right sides of the roof must each be able to handle 1.5 times the weight of the unloaded vehicle. This would mean that a large truck weighing 7,000 pounds would need a roof able to support 10,500 pounds in order to be considered compliant. Furthermore, the testing device that must be used is a rigid block with specific dimension requirements, assuring that all vehicles abide by the same standard.

571.216 covers all sorts of vehicles other than basic vehicles, such as multi-passenger cars and trucks. Nevertheless, there are exemptions to this rule, such as school buses. In addition to exemptions, roofs on cars with a gross vehicle weight rating of 6,000 pounds or less must meet the following requirements:

  • The measurement must be based on the unloaded car's weight.
  • The roof must hold up to and including three times that unloaded weight.
  • The roof must then hold 9.8 times that amount, requiring it to hold 29.4 times the weight of the car.

In essence, this upgraded section of the FMCSA's requirements demand that roof structure in light cars like the Ford Focus and the Toyota Corolla must hold far more weight than the car's body supports. Even for larger cars, their roofs must still be able to resist up to and include 15 times the vehicle's weight.

Yet not all cars on the road meet these requirements. Whether it is due to a manufacturer's defect or a general failure to conform to current law, cars whose roofs cannot handle the sufficient amount of weight are not fit for the road. Unfortunately, motorists driving noncompliant cars do not know this, and suffer serious roof structure collapse injuries as a consequence. When it is found that a company ignored these basic standards of care, a legal claim launched by the injured person or his/her family is warranted.

Grossman Law Offices Can Handle Rollover Accident Claims

Nevertheless, even some of the most justified causes of action for rollover accidents cannot go anywhere without an effective legal representative. Grossman Law Offices' attorneys are familiar with Texas personal injury and wrongful death claims, know the relevant regulations, and are poised to help you through this troubling period. To find out more, just reach us at (855) 429-0981 for a free consultation. Call us, and get Grossman Law Offices helping you today.

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