A Flagstaff woman was killed and her three children were injured in a rollover crash over the weekend.
Woman Killed in Rollover Crash
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the rollover car accident happened at approximately 3:55 p.m. Saturday at milepost 327, about 12 miles south of Flagstaff. Elizabeth Anne Landers, 27, and her three children, ages 3, 5, and 8 were in the fast lane traveling southbound when their vehicle started drifting left toward the median for no apparent reason.
Landers then over corrected in an attempt to avoid the median and struck a commercial semi trailer that was traveling in the right lane. The impact sent Landers’ car into the median. It rolled over before it came to a stop on the northbound side of the freeway.
The Dangers of Rollover Car Accidents
Rollover accidents cause more fatalities than any other form of car accidents. More than 10,000 people yearly are killed in rollover car accidents. They can also be caused by numerous reasons.
Reasons for Rollover Car Accidents
Reasons for rollover car accidents include:
- Vehicle type. Though all types of cars can rollover, taller and narrower vehicles with higher centers of gravity are more susceptible to rollovers during a single-vehicle accident. These cars include: SUVs, pickups, and vans.
- Speed. Almost 40% of fatal rollover accidents involved excessive speed.
- Alcohol. Almost half of all fatal rollover accidents involved alcohol.
- Location. Almost 3/4 of fatal rollover accidents occur in rural areas. This is due to the fact that rural roads are often undivided and have no barriers.
- Routine driving. Over 90% of fatal rollover car accidents are single-vehicle accidents that involve routine driving maneuvers like going straight or rounding a curve. The reason behind the accidents are most likely to blame on distraction.
Cuts and Tears from a Car Accident****
Cuts and tear injuries can occur because of broken glass and torn metal. In the case of a rollover accident, a car’s occupant can be tossed around and injured from all areas of the car, or can even be ejected from the vehicle.
5-Star Safety Ratings System**
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5-Star Safety Ratings System, also known as the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), measures the crash protection and rollover safety of new motor vehicles.
According to the NHTSA, a car’s frontal crash (head-on) rating is based on the evaluation of injury to the head, neck, chest, legs and feet of the driver and right front-seat passenger.The side-impact front-seat rating evaluates injuries to the head, chest, abdomen and pelvis of the driver and front seat passenger. The side-impact rear-seat rating evaluates injury to the head and pelvis of the rear-seat passenger.
According to the NHTSA, the head, neck, chest, pelvis, abdomen, legs (which includes knees) and feet are the parts of the body most likely to be injured in a motor vehicle collision. Multiple studies have determined that where a person is seated in a car during an accident does effect on the type and severity of the injury they are likely to suffer. Being seated closer to the point of impact is likely to result in more severe injuries.
Additional Impact of Car Accident
Severe injuriesare likely to result insteep medical bills and rehabilitation costs. And these expenses are also compounded by time spent away from work during recovery. Victims can also suffer emotional problems, such as depression, stemming from serious and long-lasting injuries.
Not Wearing a Seat-Belt
Though seat belt use has increased – averaging 88 percent nationally – there are still groups less likely to wear seat belts. These include teens, commercial driver and males in rural areas. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury. The act of wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent and more than 15,000 lives are saved by the act of wearing a seat belt.
Seat Belts Provide 5-Way Safety Protection
According to Angela Osterhuber, director of the Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project in Media, Pa., “Seat belts prevent occupants of the vehicle from serious injury in five ways.” She adds that a seat belt:
- Keeps occupants of a vehicle inside. “It’s clearly a myth that people are better off being thrown clear from the crash,” says Osterhuber. “People thrown from a vehicle are four times more likely to be killed than those who remain inside.”
- Is made to restrain the strongest parts of the body. “Restraints are designed to contact your body at its strongest parts. For an older child and adult, these parts are the hips and shoulders, which is where the seat belt should be strapped,” Osterhuber says.
- Helps to spread out the force of a collision. “Lap-and-shoulder belts spread the force of the crash over a wide area of the body. By putting less stress on any one area, they can help you avoid serious injury,” says Osterhuber. The shoulder strap helps keep your head and upper body suspended away from the dashboard, steering wheel, and other hard parts of the automobile’s interior if the car is hit by another vehicle, or if you stop suddenly.
- Helps slow down the body. “What is it that causes injury? A quick change in speed,” says Osterhuber. “Seat belts help extend the time it takes for you to slow down in a crash.”
- Protects two critical areas: your brain and your spinal cord. “Head injuries may be hard to see immediately, but they can be deadly,” Osterhuber says. Likewise, spinal cord injuries can have serious consequences.
Buckle Up Correctly
Wearing a seat belt is important, but so is the way you wear it. Just like a helmet, or other safety gear, getting the right fit is just as important as the act of wearing it. The bottom strap should fit snugly over your hips and upper thigh. “If the belt rides up on the stomach, it could cause serious injuries in a crash,” Osterhuber says.
The shoulder belt should rest securely across your chest and shoulders. The strap should not be placed across your neck or face and should never be placed under your arms or behind your back. “Any one of these positions can cause serious injury,” Osterhuber says.
Safety for Children
The American Academy of Pediatrics provides these guidelines for selecting the correct way to restrain your child in a vehicle:
- Rear-facing child safety seat. Children under the age of 1 and those who weigh less than 20 pounds should sit in rear-facing, child safety seats approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The seats should always be placed in the backseat of the car.
- Forward-facing child safety seat. Children older than the age of 1 who weigh more than 20 pounds should ride in forward-facing child safety seats in the rear of the vehicle until the child reaches the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat. This usually happens around the age of 4 or once he or she reaches around 40 pounds.
- Booster seat. Children who are aged 4 and older who weigh more than 40 pounds should ride in booster seats. A child can safely move to wearing a seat belt once the belt fits properly across the upper thighs and chest. “This is usually at age 8 or when they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall,” Osterhuber says.
- Back of vehicle. Once a child outgrows his or her booster seat, they are usually able to use seat belts. Still, a child should remain in the back seat of the vehicle. “Really, all children should be riding in the backseat of the car until they are at least 13 years old,” Osterhuber says.
Working with a Personal Injury Attorney After an Accident
If you have been a victim in a car, truck, pedestrian, or bicycle accident, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney that understands the specific laws around these types of accidents. They will be able to perform a full investigation and build your case. It’s crucial that you work with someone that knows the intricacies of the laws surrounding these types of cases as well as your specific state’s laws. The attorneys at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC have experience handling personal injury cases such as car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents. They will help build a case to ensure you receive everything you need to recover from your specific accident.