Large commercial trucks, SUVs and some buses all have a higher risk of rollovers, due to their low center of gravity and their distribution of weight. With large commercial trucks, especially, rollover accidents are a concern because these very large trucks can cause a lot of damage when they rollover on highways. An out of control truck can cause collisions, car accidents, and property damage as well as fatalities. Many commercial trucks are used to transport flammable or dangerous materials. In the event of an accident or rollover, these materials can fuel out of control fires.
Increasing awareness about truck rollovers has placed additional pressure on manufacturers of trucks as well as trucking companies to prevent these sorts of accidents. Manufacturers have been developing rollover warning and control systems in order to help prevent some of these types of accidents. These devices might prove very popular, especially since they may be modified to fit vans and SUVs to help prevent SUV and van rollovers as well.
Research studies have suggested that commercial truck design can also play a large role in preventing rollover accidents. Currently, high cg heights and large dimensions as well as heavy loads on these trucks contribute to rollover accidents, especially with higher speeds. Incorrect distribution and securing of loads has also proven to cause accidents.
In fact, rollovers are a leading cause of accidents involving articulated vehicles. These types of accidents cause millions of dollars of property damage as well as significant loss of life each year. In some cases, driver error or incorrect training have been found to lead to rollover accidents. Studies have shown that the speed drivers consider safe for a turn are very close to rollover threshold limits of large commercial trucks.
Statistics have shown that 13% of all fatal crashes involving heavy vehicles are caused by rollovers. About 3% of all collisions on US highways are due to rollovers. Each year, NHSTA reports that 43 200 fatalities occur on American highways. About one third of those deaths are due to trucking accidents. Many more people escape with their lives but suffer for months or years with serious personal injuries, such as burn injuries, brain injuries, broken bones, amputations, or spinal cord injuries.
Experts have found many methods of preventing truck rollover accidents. Some experts recommend hydraulic actuators or active braking. Alarm and warning systems which warn drivers of possible rollovers are also endorsed by some experts. Although many experts hope for a good rollover warning or prevention system, manufacturers of such systems are hampered by the fact that any such device would have to identify and respond to a wide variety of factors that can contribute to rollovers without too many false warnings.