Atlanta Passenger Van Safety
Passenger Van Statistics
The U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, analyzed data from fatal crashes between 1990 and 2002. During that time period, there were 1,576 15-passenger vans involved in fatal crashes that resulted in 1,111 fatalities to occupants of such vans. Of these, 657 vans were in fatal, single vehicle crashes, of which 349 rolled over. In 450 of these vans, there was at least one fatality, totaling up to 684 occupant fatalities in single-vehicle crashes.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) notes that 15-passenger vans are more prone to rollover accidents than passenger cars. More than 50 percent of single-vehicle accidents involving 15-passenger vans were rollover accidents compared with one-third of passenger cars. Eighty-one percent of crash-related occupant deaths in 15-passenger vans involved single-vehicle rollover accidents.
According to the NTSB, there are several issues with 15-passenger vans. These include underinflated tires, which can cause faster tire deterioration, and a high center of gravity, which moves upward and rearward with increased passengers and cargo. As the center of gravity moves upward and rearward, the vehicle becomes more difficult to control. The NTSB notes that 15-passenger vans are three times more likely to roll over when they carry more than 10 passengers.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, notes that fatal rollovers of 15-passenger vans are likely to involve tire failures because the tires are often under inflated and used past their service life. According to the NHTSA, 58 people died in 15-passenger van rollover crashes in 2006. The NHTSA’s October 2010 advisory was directed toward church groups, other non-profit organizations and colleges that may be keeping older 15-passenger vans in service longer than usually because of tight transportation budgets.
Passenger Vans in and Around Fulton County
Passenger vans are commonly used by colleges, churches, camps, and other groups during in Fulton County and throughout the state of Georgia. The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency recommends that users of 15-passenger vans to take specific steps to keep drivers and passengers safe because these vehicles have special dangers if not operated properly.
Passenger vans handle very differently from smaller passenger vehicles because they are typically longer, higher, wider, and heavier especially when loaded. They require trained drivers who are comfortable and experienced with the unique driving characteristics of larger vehicles. These differences include the need for increased reliance on side mirrors for changing lanes and also longer braking distances. In addition, passenger vans have a higher risk of crashes and rollovers if they are not properly operated and well-maintained.
Safety Tips for Passenger Vans
15-passenger vans are particularly sensitive to improper loading. The NHTSA warns drivers to never overload the vans under any circumstances. Users of passenger vans also need to make sure that tires are appropriately sized, inspected, and properly inflated before every trip. Tire pressure can vary for front and rear tires. Tires can also degrade over time. For that reason, NHTSA recommends that spare tires not be used as long-term replacements for worn tires. If you are planning a trip in a 15-passenger van:
- Make sure that the van is well maintained.
- Confirm that drivers are properly licensed, well trained, and experienced in operating passenger vans.
- Drivers should be well rested as fatigue can affect driving and response times.
- Check that tires are properly sized and load rated for the vehicle.
- Never exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.
- Inspect the vehicle before every trip. Tires should be properly inflated and should not show signs of wear or damage in accordance with the terms of the owner’s manual.
- Buckle up before every trip.
- Warm passengers not to stand up or move about the vehicle while the van is in motion.
Contact an Atlanta Passenger Van Injury Attorney
When you are involved in a collision with a 15-passenger van, it is likely that you sustained serious injuries. In many instances, a 15-passenger van collision results in brain injury, lacerations, broken bones and even permanent disabilities in the event of a rollover. You will need an experienced auto accident lawyer to help investigate the facts of your case and to walk you through the process of determining who is liable for your injuries and damages.