Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rollover Crash Seriously Hurts 4 Children and 1 Woman who were Unrestrained

In Pittsburg, Contra Costa, a Chevrolet crashed after the driver failed to overtake a vehicle in front of it and left four children and a woman badly hurt and three other men injured when their vehicle struck a road median and a tree before it rolled over.

The woman, 34 years old, and all four children aged 3, 6, 7 and 9 years old who were sitting in the back seat were unrestrained. Two of the children should have been in child safety seats. Two children and the woman were ejected when the vehicle overturned.

According to the authorities, alcohol was not a factor in the crash and the driver was not cited or arrested. However, the police are now investigating possible child endangerment and the Contra Costa County Child Protective Services have been contacted.

All the children were flown to Oakland Children’s Hospital with serious injuries while the woman is currently in critical condition at the John Muir Medical Center.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a total of 10,182 passenger vehicle occupants died in rollover crashes in 2007. Likewise, 35 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2007 were due to rollover crashes.

Pickups and SUVs have a consistently higher percentage of rollover deaths than cars and unrestrained passengers greatly contribute to the death rate as occupants who are ejected from the vehicle, increase the likelihood of a fatality.

While accidents can be inevitable, there are a lot of things that people can do in order to minimize the damage to themselves and their passengers. The use of proper restraints such as a seat belt can be the best defense in a rollover accident.

The law has also recognized the importance of seat belts in motor vehicle crashes. There are mandatory safety belt laws in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the IIHS, safety belt use is the most effective way to reduce the risk of injury or death in a rollover. Without safety belts, occupants in vehicles that roll can be thrown from the vehicle. In fact, 66 percent of people killed in passenger vehicle rollover crashes in 2007 were unbelted.

Just like the crash in Pittsburg, it could have been just a simple, unfortunate accident. But the fact that the children and the woman were not properly restrained gives rise to criminal liability.