What are the dangers involved in a heavy truck or 18-Wheeler Rollover?
Big-rig drivers are at risk of serious injury and death in rollover accidents due to cab weakness. Men and women who make their living driving an 18-wheeler are at risk every day from the danger of rollover. Structural weaknesses in most American-made cabs make the chance of being crushed in a rollover accident almost a certainty.
Research provided by Technical Services Forensic Engineering on its web site supports that about 55 percent of all class 8 (semis) driver fatalities occur in rollover accidents. They estimate that about 600 drivers die every year in highway accidents.
In only 31 percent of driver fatalities is cab failure NOT involved.
Studies have shown that big rigs roll easily based on the cornering “g's” required to roll the vehicle. Big rigs can generate the number of g's necessary to roll going around a curve too fast, striking the tires on a curb while cornering, or outracking tires when turning. It is estimated that a driver could roll a rig at speeds as low as 5 mph.
The serious problem comes when truck cabs are not strong enough to withstand the force of the rollover. Technical Services reports that until very recently there were probably no cabs sold in the U.S. that would not go flat if you put them on their roof. Stronger cabs are available in Europe, meeting EEC or Swedish standards. They estimate that without a high trailer or load (which may prevent the roof from contacting the ground in a 180 degree roll) the roof will collapse down to the engine line.
Drivers are seriously injured or killed if they stay in the cab and remain upright. A number of drivers also are killed each year in 90 degree rollovers when they fall out of the cab or attempt to jump and are crushed when the rig rolls over on them, or if they try to jump from the high side and hit the pavement.
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