Prevent North Carolina 15-Passenger Van Crashes by Not Overloading Vehicle

October 22, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Once again, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is cautioning the owners and drivers of 15-passsenger vans to exercise the necessary safety precautions to keep vehicle occupants safe. The warning comes in the wake of two recent 15-passenger van accidents in the US. that killed 10 people. Both accidents involved tire blowouts. In the collision that took place in Georgia, the 1987 Dodge Ram Wagon church van was carrying 19 passengers.

According to NHTSA research, when there are 10 or more people in a 15-passenger van, the vehicle rollover risk goes up. This means that even when the van is carrying the amount of people it is designed to transport, it can pose a safety risk to its occupants and others.

The higher rollover risk occurs because the heavier the passengers’ combined weight, the more likely the van’s gravity center is to rise and shift rearward, which makes the vehicle harder to control during an emergency situation. Loading the roof of a 15-passenger van with cargo can also raise the vehicle’s gravity center. Unfortunately, many 15-passenger vans—especially the older ones—are not designed with the proper structural integrity, crash padding, and emergency exits to protect passengers during a rollover accident.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina 15-passenger van accident lawyers are familiar with the challenges that come with proving that the van manufacturer, operator, or another party was negligent in causing your injury accident. This is one of the many reasons to begin exploring your legal options as soon as possible.

Meantime, NHTSA is urging people to make sure that their vehicles are properly maintained and equipped with tires that are the right size. It also is recommending that 15-passenger van owners not use spare tires, as well as tires that are more than 10 years old, as permanent replacement tires.

Other NHTSA Safety Tips for What to Do When Driving a 15-Passenger Van:
• Drivers must be fully trained and experienced in operating this type of van.
• Do not overload the van with cargo or passengers.
• Before a trip, ensure that the van’s tires are properly inflated.
• Make sure that everyone is wearing a seat belt.

Church Van Crash Victims Named and Remembered, WRBL News, October 22, 2010

Consumer Advisory: NHTSA Reissues 15-Passenger Van Safety Caution, NHTSA, October 14, 2010

Reducing the Risk of Rollover Crashes in 15-Passenger Vans,

Related Web Resources:
Q&As: 15-passenger vans, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

15-Passenger Vans Safety Alert, NTSB (PDF)


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