As we have come to understand just how common and how deadly SUV rollover accidents can be, roof strength tests have become a major focus in designing safer vehicles to help you and your loved ones survive a car accident. With the initial reports of roof strength on SUVs, many were found to be very poor, often unable to protect passengers in the event of a rollover accident. In recent years this safety defect has been addressed by manufacturers, significantly improving the safety rating of many vehicles.

However, there are still some who criticize the industry and even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because the tests used are quasi-static load-bearing tests where the roof is subjected to a slowly increasing amount of force. Critics of this test say that it does not reflect real-world situations, where a vehicle in a rollover accident is subjected to a dynamic load. To address these criticisms, the NHTSA conducted tests comparing static- and dynamic-load performance of vehicle roofs.

The results showed that mechanically applying quasi-static loads and dynamically loading the roof by dropping a vehicle on its roof gave substantially similar ratings for vehicles. Overall, the statistical fit between the two tests was given as 0.95 to 0.99. They also used a static test, then tried to predict the results of a dynamic test. The error between the tests was 8% to 17%. This is close enough that the NHTSA considers the virtues of the static test to outweigh its limitations.

If you have been hurt in a rollover accidents, roof strength is one of many areas where your vehicle may have been defective. You may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. To learn more, please call or email Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA for a free case evaluation.