Product Liability

Billboards honor rollover victims, promote roof crush awareness

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Paula Lawlor, founder of the nonprofit organization People Safe in Rollovers, was given the honor Consumer Advocate of the Year by Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. A former legal assistant, Lawlor has spent a decade pressuring government and automobile manufacturers to the toughen standards for automobile roof crush resistance.

Part of People Safe in Rollovers’ mission is to educate the public about how dangerously weak most car and truck roofs are. Government regulations for minimum roof crush strength are as archaic as they are weak, and few car manufacturers hold themselves to standards higher than the government’s. Consequently, thousands of people die or become seriously injured in rollover accidents every year.

Educating the public can be a long and expensive project, especially for nonprofit groups with few resources. Resourcefulness, a bit of ingenuity, and lots of hard work can make up for a windfall of cash, as People Safe in Rollovers’ billboard campaign demonstrates.

To help raise public awareness about roof crush strength and other related issues, People Safe in Rollovers launched the first phase of an attention-grabbing campaign using billboards to honor the victims — both living and dead — of rollover accidents.

The first billboard, measuring 14 feet by 48 feet, was erected in Montgomery, Alabama, on August 17, 2007. The billboard honored Claudette Phillips, a California woman whose ’93 Grand Cherokee rolled over. Although Claudette was wearing her seat belt when the accident occurred, the roof of her Jeep crushed under pressure, rendering her a complete quadriplegic.

Additional billboards have gone up in Birmingham, Mobile, and Dothan, Alabama, and in Jackson, Mississippi, thanks to the generosity of Lamar Advertising Company, who waived the costly billboard rental fee. Now People Safe in Rollovers may put their vinyl signs on unleased billboards. If the billboard rents, then Lamar moves the roof crush ads to another location. The Alabama billboards are the first roof crush awareness signs in an ongoing national campaign.

Some of the billboards for roof crush awareness can be seen by going here.