15-Passenger Van Rollover
15-Passenger Van Rollover Accidents Injuries Lawsuits
15-Passenger Van Rollover | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Injury, Fatalities | Accidents, Crash, Safety Problems, Consumer Advisory, Car Accident
The 15-passenger vans used by many schools, church groups and other community organizations are extremely dangerous. Fifteen-passenger vans have a track record of rollover crashes, especially when they're overloaded with passengers. In September 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a consumer advisory for motorists using 15-passenger vans following fatal crashes in Georgia and New York.
Our 15-passenger van rollover crash lawyers are currently investigating accidents involving these vehicles. The NHTSA has found that the risk of a 15-passenger van rollover crash is increased when there are 10 or more people in the vehicle, or when a load of any weight is placed on the van's roof. Our 15-passenger van rollover accident lawyers believe these problems are indicative of a design flaw. They are determined to make sure the manufacturers of these dangerous vehicles are held accountable for the deaths and injuries they have caused.
Our 15-passenger van rollover crash lawyers are offering free case evaluations to anyone injured as a result of a rollover accident involving one of these vehicles. If you or a loved one were injured in a 15-passenger van rollover crash, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. To find out how we can help, please contact one of our 15-passenger van rollover accident lawyers today.
NHTSA Alert on 15-Passenger Vans
Fifteen-passenger vans typically have seating positions for a driver and 14 passengers. They are widely used by community organizations to take members on short trips and outings. Colleges use them to drive sports teams to intercollegiate games and vanpools use them for commuters.
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 usual because of tight transportation budgets. Pre-primary, primary and secondary schools should not use 15-passenger vans for transporting school children, as they do not provide the same level of safety as school buses. It is also against federal law for schools to buy new 15-passenger vans for school transportation purposes.
Rollover crashes, such as the type seen with 15-passender vans, are heavily influenced by driver and road characteristics as well as the design of the vehicle. In studies of single-vehicle crashes, the NHTSA has found that more than 90 percent of rollovers occur after a driver has lost control of the vehicle and has run off the road.
Recent research by the NHTSA has found that the risk of a rollover crash is greatly increased when 10 or more people ride in a 15-passenger van. This increased risk occurs because the passenger weight raises the vehicle’s center of gravity and causes it to shift rearward. As a result, the van has less resistance to rollover and handles differently from other commonly driven passenger vehicles, making it more difficult to control in an emergency situation. Placing any load on the roof also raises the center of gravity and increases the likelihood of a rollover, the NHTSA said.
According to the NHTSA, if an organization is using a 15-passenger van, the following precautions should be taken:
- Make sure the vehicle is properly maintained.
- Owners should make sure drivers are fully trained and experienced in operating a 15-passenger van and are properly licensed.
- 15-passenger vans are very sensitive to loading and should not be overloaded under any circumstances. Agency research shows overloading not only increases rollover risk but makes the vehicle more unstable in any handling maneuvers.
- Owners should make sure that properly sized tires are being used on their vehicles.
- Before every trip, drivers should check the tires for proper inflation, and make sure there are no signs of wear. Correct tire size and inflation pressure information can be found in the owner’s manual.
- If you are a passenger, make sure you buckle up for every trip.
The 2010 advisory was only the most recent one issued by the NHTSA. In fact, it has issued a steady stream of these warnings since 2001.
15-Passenger Van Accidents
The 2010 NHTSA 15-passenger van safety advisory was issued following two tragic accidents in New York and Florida. The New York accident killed six and injured eight members of a Bronx church. The victims were on their way to a church event in Schenectady, New York when the left rear tire on the 1997 Ford Econoline van they were riding in failed on the New York Thruway. The van rolled over, and the occupants were ejected from the vehicle.
Two weeks later, a Georgia pastor and three others were killed when the 1987 Dodge Ram Wagon carrying them to a church revival blew a tire and flipped several times on a highway, ejecting all on board. The van was overloaded with 19 passengers on board when it crashed, four more than its stated capacity.
According to the Quality Control Systems Corporation, from “1982 through 2008, there have been 724 fatal rollovers of 15-passenger vans in which an occupant of the van was killed in the United States. These crashes killed 1,153 persons and injured an additional 1,957. More than six thousand persons have been involved in fatal rollovers as drivers or passengers in the vans, of whom only 305 were known to be uninjured in these crashes.” The Quality Control Systems Corporation's statistics were drawn from data from the 1982-2008 Fatality Analysis Reporting System database and “involved model year 1981-2008 vans manufactured by Ford, Dodge / DaimlerChrysler, and General Motors / Chevrolet.”
Manufacturers, facing lawsuits over 15-passenger van accidents, have made some modifications to these vehicles in an attempt to prevent rollover accidents. In 2004, GM introduced the first model with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and made it standard the following year. Ford began equipping its 15-passenger vans with ESC in model year 2006. Rear-seat shoulder-lap belts were not implemented on Ford vans until 2008. GM installed them in 2004. In model year 2007, Ford and GM began adding advanced air bags.
However, these modifications do not address the safety problems inherent in older model 15-passenger vans. According to the NHTSA, as of July 1, 2007 there were about 564,000 15-passenger vans registered in the US, and only 7 percent of the fleet were newer models manufactured after 2004.
Legal Help for Victims of 15-Passenger Van Rollover Crashes
If you or a loved one were injured in a 15-passenger van rollover accident, you may have valuable legal rights. To discuss your case with one of our 15-passenger van rollover accident lawyers, please fill out our online form, or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today.