As the summer travel season approaches, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is again urging all 15-passenger van users to take appropriate precautions to guard against the possibility of a tragic rollover crash. NHTSA knows from its research that 15-passenger vans have a much higher rollover risk than other passenger vehicles, especially when fully loaded with passengers and luggage. Frankly, it’s my hope that no family now has a 15-passenger van or plans on taking a trip in one this summer. But if anybody just wants to live dangerously and put their family at risk of losing their lives and insists on using a 15-passenger van – the following are some safety tips that NHTSA recommends:
• Make sure all passengers are buckled up at all times.
• Make sure all drivers have training and experience. It should be noted, however, that even experienced drivers are virtually helpless when a 15-passenger van goes out of control and starts to rollover. But driver inexperience certainly won’t help matters. Never let a young person drive these vehicles at any time.
• Pay special attention to tires prior to a trip. Examine tires for signs of wear and aging, and always check to see if they are properly inflated to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. Improperly inflated tires are another common contribution to rollover crashes, especially if the van is fully loaded with passengers and luggage.
I have made some changes in NHTSA’s recommendations primarily because the lawyers in our firm who handle lawsuits involving these vehicles consider them too dangerous to own or drive. I totally agree with their assessment. If you want to know how dangerous the 15-passenger vans really are, contact Cole Portis at 800-898-2034 or by email at Cole.Portis@beasleyallen.com. You can also visit www.safercar.gov.
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