During the spring and summer, there are generally more 15-passenger vans on the road than at any other time. This is because these vans are often used by tour groups who enjoy summer weather, as well as by camps and churches who run summer programs for kids.
While 15-passenger vans may seem a useful way to transport mid-size groups of people, our Costa Mesa injury attorneys know that these vans are also a dangerous method of transportation. This is because 15-passenger vans are much more likely to be involved in rollover accidents.
NHTSA Warns of 15-Passenger Van Risk
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is so concerned about the high rollover risk associated with 15-passenger vehicles that it recently released a consumer advisory notice urging users to take appropriate precautions to prevent injury.
According to the advisory released by NHTSA, 15-passenger vans have a higher center of gravity than other types of vehicles. A high center of gravity can make the van top heavy and can make it more likely to roll over and end up with its wheels in the air and its roof on the ground.
Rollover accidents, while not as common as head-on crashes or side impact collisions, can be especially devastating types of accidents and typically cause more serious injuries or a higher number of deaths.
As of the risk of a serious rollover accident isn't bad enough, there are also other dangers associated with 15-passenger vans as well. For example:
- 15-Passenger vans are susceptible to problems with tires. Estimates indicate that an estimated 30 percent of all 15-passenger vans on the road have at least one tire that is not fully inflated. This can increase the chances of a van spinning out of control. It can also increase the risk of a rollover.
- 15-Passenger vans are often driven by people with little to no experience. While those transporting large numbers of passengers are required to have commercial drivers' licenses, there may be situations when the driver of a 15-passenger van is not required to have a CDL. In these cases, inexperienced drivers may operate these large and dangerous vehicles.
Passengers need to be aware of these risks and should be careful about knowing who the driver is before climbing aboard any 15-passenger van.
In addition to warning of the 15-passenger van risks, NHTSA also has some tips to prevent accidents in these vehicles. The tips include:
- Refraining from overloading the van.
- Ensuring that the van undergoes regular routine maintenance by qualified professionals.
- Inspecting parts, including suspension and steering components, as required by the manufacturer.
- Ensuring the van has the right tires and that the ties are properly inflated and not damaged.
By following these basic tips, those operating 15-passenger vans this summer can hopefully keep their passengers safe and thus avoid liability for auto accidents or rollover crashes.
Contact Howard Law, PC today, if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-872-5925.
L.A. Drunk Driving Accidents & the BAC Limit, California Injury Lawyers , April 4, 2013