15-Passenger Van Warnings
15-Passenger Vans Safety Warning - June 2004
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has warned groups using 15-seat passenger vans about "the dangers of fully loading these things and then putting an inexperienced driver behind the wheel." Dr. Jeffrey Runge, administrator of the NHTSA, stated that these vans are trucks and "...should only be driven by people with experience driving trucks."
Rae Tyson, a spokesperson for the NHTSA stated, "Fifteen-passenger vans are not appropriate for transporting children." However, the agency has no authority to dictate the usage of a van after it leaves the dealer's lot.
Federal regulators, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, attribute higher fatalities to:
- Inadequate seatbelt usage of passenger van occupants
- 15-seat vans were involved in 1,576 fatal crashes
Accidents involving 15-seat passenger vans can result in serious injuries. If you have been injured while riding in a large van, you need a law firm with experience to represent your injury claim.
Many law suits are filed each year against manufacturers of 15 passenger vans on account of accidents that resulted in injuries or deaths. Ford and General Motors are currently the only companies manufacturing 15 passenger vans. In 2002 DiamlerChrysler stopped generating 15 passenger vans. Some 15 passenger vans that are currently being used are the Ford Econoline E350, GMC Rally/Vandura G3500, Chevrolet Express 3500, Dodge Ram Van/Wagon B3500, and the GMC Savana G3500.
In January 2003 one child was killed and five others were seriously injured when a 15 passenger van was in an accident.
15-passenger Vans and Rollover Risk
Recently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a cautionary warning to users of 15 passenger vans because of an increased rollover risk under certain conditions. These 15-passenger vans are used by churches, daycare and eldercare centers, schools, universities, and airport shuttle services -- yet they are extremely hazardous vehicles. Originally manufactured as cargo vans, automakers never redesigned these vehicles to safely transport people. The results of the recent safety administration analysis revealed that 15-passenger vans have a rollover risk that?s similar to other light trucks and vans when carrying a few passengers. However, the risk of rollover increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases from fewer than five to more than 10 passengers. The NHTSA study noted that even when carrying between one and four passengers, the 15-passenger vans were 17 percent more likely to be involved in a rollover accident than smaller vans or minivans.
The 15-passenger vans (with 10 or more occupants) had a rollover rate in single vehicle crashes that's nearly three times the rate of those that were lightly loaded. The analysis revealed that loading the 15-passenger van causes the center of gravity to shift rearward and upward, increasing the likelihood of rollover. The shift in the center of gravity also will increase the potential for loss of control in panic maneuvers. The NHTSA urged institutions using 15-passenger vans to require seat-belt use at all times since buckling up dramatically increases the chances of survival during a rollover crash. The federal agency noted that 80 percent of victims who died in 15-passenger van rollover accidents last year were not wearing seat belts. NHTSA officials said there are about 1.4 million 15-passenger vans registered in the United States.
The agency identified a number of 15-passenger models:
- Ford Econoline E350
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