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SUVs are a popular vehicle of choice among families, but they are also prone to roll over because of their higher center of gravity and larger weight than other cars. In fact, 37 percent of fatal road crashes were SUV rollovers, while passenger cars have only a 15 percent rollover rate, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Automobile manufacturers now engineer their SUVs to minimize this risk, but SUV rollover accidents can still happen.

In Martin County, Florida, a recent SUV accident is a tragic example that led to the devastating deaths of three people – two of them children – and the injuries of their nine other family members, reports News 13.

The Miranda family, composed of 12 people including 7 children, was traveling along the Florida Turnpike in a Ford Expedition when the vehicle’s left rear tire tread detached. This caused the driver to lose control of the SUV, and it went onto the shoulder where it overturned and ejected several passengers.

Two children aged 8 and 2 died from the crash, alongside one adult. Nine other persons sustained injuries ranging from minor to critical.

Based on reports, the family’s travel seemed to have been laden with risks. First, the Ford Expedition was carrying 12 occupants when its seating capacity is generally for 8 people only. Many travelers seem to ignore the danger of overloading – a National Consumer Survey found that almost 50 percent of Americans do not think that loading contributes to rollover risk.

In addition, a Florida Highway Patrol investigator said that at least six of the occupants in the wrecked SUV weren’t restrained when the accident occurred.

But other factors could turn out to have contributed to the accident. The separated tire tread, for one, could possibly indicate that the tire was defective. Even in these modern times, major tire companies are still involved in cases where their products are found to have design and manufacturing defects.

Tragic accidents like this are always complicated from a legal perspective. Injury victims and the family of the deceased should consult an experienced car accident attorney to discuss their options.