Critical Role of Seatbelts in SUV Rollover Accidents


July 26, 2011

A recent tire blowout accident in Florida resulted in the tragic death of a Georgia woman. According to law enforcement authorities, the Norcross, GA woman was ejected from her SUV, a 2002 GMC Yukon, when the vehicle suffered a tire blowout which caused an SUV rollover accident. The SUV rollover accident victim’s two children were also injured and hospitalized. Law enforcement reports indicate that the children were not wearing seatbelts.

Regardless of whether one is traveling down Georgia freeways or Atlanta streets, an SUV rollover accident can be extremely dangerous often resulting in catastrophic injuries which cause permanent physical or mental disabilities and wrongful death. Tire blowouts due to tread separation or other tire defects cause many SUV rollover accidents. While SUV rollovers may be caused by tire blowouts, they may also be caused by nothing more than evasive maneuvers where a driver veers to avoid an accident and over compensates when turning the steering wheel in the other direction.

Because of the increased risk of a rollover accident involving an SUV, it is especially important to wear a seatbelt and have children in appropriate child safety restraints. While using seatbelts and child safety restraints is essential when driving any vehicle, the higher risk of rollover accidents and vehicle injections in SUVs make this safety equipment even more critical in securing vehicle occupants inside the vehicle in the event of a rollover of their SUV. The higher probability of vehicle ejections in an SUV rollover accident can be partially linked to weaker door locks than other vehicles. A lack of glaze lamination over the safety glass also contributes to the higher vehicle ejection rate involving SUV rollovers.

Some SUVs have seatbelts that are defective and may unbuckle during a rollover accident. Some SUVs also lack properly functioning mechanisms called pretensioners present in other vehicles that tighten during an accident. There have been a large number of product recalls related to defective seatbelts in SUVs. Even if seatbelts and child safety restraints are functioning properly, however, they can only prevent serious injuries and auto accident fatalities if vehicle occupants use them.

Seatbelt use has improved in recent years, aided significantly by mandatory seatbelts laws. Depending on the state, seatbelt violations are either classified as primary or secondary offenses. A primary seatbelt law authorizes a police officer to pull you over even if you have not committed any other traffic violation. Secondary seatbelt laws only permit a seatbelt ticket to be issued if a driver is pulled over for some other traffic infraction. Georgia is a secondary seatbelt law state that requires children under 17 to be properly restrained by seatbelt or children’s safety seat, as appropriate, regardless of where the vehicle occupant is seated in the vehicle. Adults who are 18 and over only need to wear a seatbelt in the front seat.

Since the widespread use of mandatory seatbelt laws, seatbelt use has increased to 85 percent according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unfortunately, this means that many people still do not buckle up. If you are involved in an SUV rollover accident the risk of vehicle ejection is substantial regardless of where you are seated in the vehicle. Our experienced Atlanta SUV rollover accident attorneys encourage all those traveling the roadways of Georgia to buckle up and secure their children in a child safety restraint. Our law firm has been representing Atlanta motor vehicle accident victims for well over a quarter of a century, and has seen far too many Georgia SUV accidents where seatbelts may have saved the life of a vehicle occupant.

If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in an SUV rollover accident in Atlanta, our experienced Atlanta SUV rollover accident lawyers have the experience and commitment to protect the rights of SUV accident victims and to get them the compensation they deserve. Our experienced Atlanta auto accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.