With the summer holiday season fast approaching and people more likely to travel or go on excursions in groups, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is once again cautioning people to perform the necessary safety measures to decrease the chances of a rollover accident happening. Many 15-passenger van crash lawyers believe that one reason such a warning is necessary is that even when this van is used for its intended purpose, it can be a dangerous vehicle.
For example, according to a US Department of Transportation study, a 15-passenger van carrying eleven passengers rather than, say, 5, has a three times greater risk of rolling over. Also, consider that this van is designed to transport 15 people. Per a 2004 NHTSA, the chances of a 15-passenger van rollover crash happening goes up by over 400% when it is fully loaded than when there is just the driver riding it. Also, per lab tests conducted by the federal agency, a greater rollover risk is linked to the vehicle’s already high gravity center and this goes up even further when the vehicle is fully loaded with people and cargo.
At The Gilbert Law Group®, our auto defects attorneys represent victims who were involved in 15-passenger van rollover accidents, as well as those that have lost loved ones. While driver error/inexperience, poor road conditions, bad weather, drunk driving, texting while driving, cell phone driving, and driver recklessness can cause these types of collisions, many of them are a result of the vehicle’s design. We are not afraid to go after large automakers to make sure our clients get the compensation that they are owed.
NHTSA is reminding 15-passenger van occupants to:
• Never overload the vehicle. This will make it even more unstable.
• Make sure tires are properly inflated. According to the agency, about 30% of 15-passenger vans have at least one tire that is significantly underinflated.
• Make sure you replace worn tires with new ones rather than spares, especially as tires generally degrade as time goes by.
• Replace tires that are 10 years old with new ones.
• Get the van inspected and maintained on a regular basis.
• Make sure everyone in the vehicle is using seatbelts. Often, people in such a large transport will take on a ‘bus passenger’ mentality and assume that it is okay to not buckle up. 88% of rollover deaths in 15-passenger vans happen to victims who were not using seat belts.
It is important that only a driver that is experienced and fully trained in handling a 15-passenger van operate this type of vehicle.
Unfortunately, despite the known safety issues, 15-passenger vans continued to be used by airport shuttle companies, schools, community groups, church groups, sports teams, and others. While some car manufacturers have introduced some safety devices and modifications to address some of the dangers, including electronic stability control, shoulder lap belts, and advanced airbags, not all existing 15-passenger vans have these measures.
To schedule your complementary, no obligation consultation, contact our auto defects law firm today. You can also call 1-(303) 431-1111.