While the number of 15-passenger van deaths has gone down since 2001, the number of 15-passenger van occupant deaths did increase by almost 205 between 2006 and 2007. 45 of the 2007 15-passenger van fatalities occurred in rollover accidents—73% more than from the year before.
According to statistics, 31% of deadly 15-passenger van rollover accidents occur during the summer travel season, with June – August considered the deadliest period for 15-passsenger van riders.
More NHTSA 15-Passenger Van Accident Facts:
• A van that is fully loaded with passengers and luggage has a greater chance of becoming involved in a rollover accident.
• More than half of the 15-passenger van occupants that have died were not using seat belts.
• Other common causes of 15-passenger van accidents include driver inexperience and poor tire condition.
CBS reported in 2004 that there are approximately 500,000 15-passenger vans on US roads, with millions of people riding them to and from the airport, school and church activities, and on trips involving large groups.
One reason 15-passenger vans are a high-risk vehicle for becoming involved in a rollover crash is the way the vehicle is designed. Most 15-passenger van models have an extended back, which means that its backside tends to get very heavy when the vehicle is fully loaded. 15-passenger vans also are made with a high gravity center, which means the more weight riding in the car, the more top heavy the vehicle.
While there is nothing that 15-passenger van occupants can do about the way the vehicle is designed, there are steps that the van driver can take to prevent 15-passenger van accidents from happening:
• Don’t drive unless you have the experience to properly operate and control a 15-passenger van.
• Don’t text message or talk on the cell phone or engage in any other form of distracted driving while operating a 15-passenger van.
• Make sure that all of the van passengers are wearing safety belts.
• Make sure the tires are properly inflated and they show no signs of extreme wear or aging.
Consumer Advisory: Federal Government Restates Rollover Warning for 15-Passenger Vans Users, NHTSA, May 20, 2009
Nation’s Top Vehicle Safety Official Urges 15-Passenger Van Users to Drive with Caution this Summer, NHTSA, May 12, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Fatalities to Occupants of 15-Passenger Vans, 1997-2006, NHTSA, May 2008 (PDF)
Portland, Oregon car accident lawyer Matt Kaplan represents clients throughout the state that have been hurt in motor vehicle crashes caused by another party’s negligence. Contact our Oregon personal injury law firm today.