Due to the high number of rollovers and fatalities associated with 15-passenger vans, the National Highway Traffic Administration warns groups that use these vehicles to take precautions.
The most important precautions are to not overload the van, make sure that tires are properly inflated and in good shape, have an experienced driver and wear seatbelts.
The agency published crash data from 2003-2007 showing that the more people these vans carry, the greater the risk of a rollover crash. A 15-passenger van with 10 or more occupants has a rollover rate nearly three times higher than one carrying fewer than five people. In 2007, fatalities from crashes involving 15-passenger vans increased nearly 20 percent over the previous year. But in vans that rolled over, fatalities increased by 73 percent.
New models are now required to have systems that help provide stability and control if the vehicle begins to skid or a driver loses control. Because older models do not have this device, it is important to not overload the van and follow the other recommendations.
These vans are often used to transport groups to and from camps, church events and school groups. Their drivers may not be used to driving large vans, which handle differently from smaller, lighter vehicles.
On April 13, an overcrowded van had a tire problem on the Florida Turnpike and rolled several times, killing a passenger and injuring 19 other people in a church group, according to myfoxny.com article. Investigators were unsure how many times the vehicle rolled.
Investigators said the vehicle was designed to hold 15 people and was also carrying a lot of luggage.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a van accident, please contact the New York personal injury law firm of David Resnick & Associates, P.C. You may be able to receive compensation for your losses.