New Rule Seeks to Save Lives and Reduce Injuries in Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents can become serious or even fatal car accidents when the occupants of the car are thrown out of the car through the side windows.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a new rule on “ejection mitigation” to address the problem. Under the new rule, announced this month, passenger vehicles will be required to install systems that keep all occupants inside the vehicle during a rollover. This includes occupants who were not wearing seatbelts.

The technology needed to implement the requirement is not entirely new. Side airbags that sense rollovers are already in use on a number of SUVs. These airbags deploy instantly during a rollover and stay open long enough to keep occupants from being thrown out of the windows. The deployment isn’t long – only a few seconds – but those seconds can be crucial in preventing fatalities and minimizing injuries in a rollover crash.

NHTSA believes that these side-sensing airbags will be the most likely way for auto manufacturers to meet the new requirement. Another option could be the use of a special type of glass in the windows.

Comprehensive rules like this are seldom implemented overnight. In this case, the new rollover protection rule will be phased in starting in 2013. The goal is for all new vehicles to have the new safeguards by 2018.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a rollover accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.