A rollover crash along southbound Highway 101 near Buellton, brought traffic to a stop just after 12 p.m. Thursday.
The driver of a van lost control at the Nojoqui Summit. The van overturned and went about 30 feet down an embankment.
Santa Barbara County firefighters used the Jaws of Life to get the man out of the van. The 56-year-old driver, from San Jose, was airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major injuries.
California Highway Patrol shut down traffic in both directions so the helicopter could land on the roadway.
County Fire said no other cars were involved. Officials said drugs or alcohol do not appear to be factors in this crash.
The cause of the accident is under investigation by CHP.