It is very likely that you have ridden in a 15-passenger van at some point in your life or maybe your child has for a school field trip. But did you know that the safety of those riding and driving in passenger vans has been a growing concern over the past decade?
In April of 2011, the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) issued a cautionary warning for 15-passenger vans in particular because of their tendency to rollover. In a NHTSA report, it stated that “vans with 10 or more occupants have three times the rollover ratio than those with fewer than 10 occupants.” Additionally, the report highlighted “the decrease in stability under fully loaded conditions correlates to an increase in the rollover risk of approximately 40 percent.” This high rollover rate, is due to factors such as inexperienced drivers, improperly sized and/or inflated tires, and incorrectly loaded cargo and passengers that affect the center of gravity.
The two main points the NHTSA report focuses on is the importance for passenger vans to be operated by experienced drivers and all passengers in these vans need to be wearing a seat belt at all times. Much attention to this subject came from various publicized wrecks involving 15-passenger vans packed with college students, often driven by a fellow student rather than a professional driver. Other concerns derived from 15-passenger van crashes involving the transportation of college sports teams.
REMINDER TO ALL DRIVERS:
D – Drivers should be well trained and experienced.
R – Rest well. Fatigue can affect driving and response time.
I – Inspect the vehicle before every trip, especially the tires.
V – Vehicle weight should never exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.
E – Ensure all passengers are buckled up and side mirrors adjusted.
R – Replace old tires. Check the vehicle owner’s manual for correct size.
S – Safety is First.
Spread this knowledge about passenger van safety to your family and friends. It is essential to know the risks you are taking by riding in this type of van, especially if you are riding with 10 or more people. Make sure your trip is as safe as possible and if you have to take two vans instead of one, do it. Don’t ever cram too many people in a van just to save money because it could cost you your life.