We have written in several issues over the past year or so that one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road in terms of rollover is a vehicle marketed for use by ball teams, scout troops, churches and day care centers. That vehicle is none other than the 15-passenger van. The history of this vehicle is marked by safety hazards that were identified by litigation, NHTSA and the National Transportation Safety Board. There are alternative designs that should have been considered by the manufacturers which would have made the vans safer. But none of the manufacturers saw fit to use them in designing the vans.
Even unloaded and without passengers, the vans are unsafe. But more passengers and more cargo in these vans makes things much worse. Research by NHTSA has shown that 15-passenger vans with ten or more occupants had three times the rollover ratio than did those with fewer than ten occupants. Fifteen-passenger vans with 10-15 occupants had a rollover ratio of 85% compared with the ratio of 28.3% for vans with fewer than five occupants. Because of their inexpensive price compared to school buses, vans became a popular item. Marketing materials have shown that all three manufacturers have marketed the products for use by ball teams, churches and other groups.
My recommendation is to never drive or ride in a 15-passenger van. Neither should you allow a family member to do so. These vehicles should be taken off of the highways for good. If you would like to have more information on the 15-passenger van litigation, contact Chris Glover at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chris.Glover@beasleyallen.com.
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