Passenger Van Accidents
Schools, churches, and other community organizations often use 15 passenger vans to transport large numbers of passengers and cargo. The prevalence of these vehicles on our roads and their frequent use for transporting youths and children has led many people assume that the proper measures have been taken to ensure safe travel. Unfortunately, there are a number of design flaws that can contribute to the serious injury in passenger van accidents. Furthermore, many drivers of these vans have had no additional training regarding the safe operation of larger vehicles. These factors combine to make 15 passenger vans among the most unsafe vehicles on our roads.
Common 15 Passenger Risks
Over- or Under-inflated Tires
The majority of auto accidents associated with 15 passenger vans occur when tires are either over- or under-inflated, causing the driver to lose control and possibly roll the vehicle. While driver awareness of this issue would certainly help reduce the number of accidents caused by improper tire inflation, an electronic stability control system would also greatly reduce the potential of serious rollover accidents. Unfortunately, this feature is not currently required to be added to new vehicles.
Heavy or Unbalanced Load
Another common cause of 15 passenger van rollovers is a heavy or unbalanced load in the vehicle or strapped to the roof. Though these vehicles are designed and marketed to accommodate larger numbers of passengers and cargo than most private vehicles, safety experts attest that it is not, in fact, safe to operate these vans with a full passenger load. Furthermore, the addition of cargo to the back or to the top of the van leads to increased instability and can heighten the risk of a rollover.
Common 15 Passenger Accident Injuries
Injuries suffered during a 15 passenger van rollover accident can be especially severe due to the large, open cabin configuration and the tendency of van passengers not to use seatbelts. Many victims of 15 passenger vans suffer burn injuries, head trauma, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries that could lead to a lifetime of disability. Transportation safety experts suggest that drivers of 15 passenger vans attend special training so that they are made aware of the safety risks associated with these vehicles. It is crucial that drivers and owners of 15 passenger vans take the safety of their passengers into their own hands, research the flaws that compromise vehicle safety, and strive to provide the safest transport possible.
Contact a Lawyer
Although 15 passenger vans are a common sight on American roads, the dangers associated with these vehicles are so severe that the NHTSA recently banned the use of 15 passenger vans for the transportation of students. While the government and auto manufacturers are well aware of the design flaws that contribute to deadly 15 passenger van accidents, most drivers and passengers in these vehicles are not. If you or someone you care about has been injured as a result of a 15 passenger van accident, speak with an experienced attorney about your legal rights.