Two recent rollovers involving 15-passenger vans in different parts of the country have brought more attention to the public as well as the Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, on how dangerous these vans really are. One of the most dangerous vehicles on the road, the 15-passenger van is widely used by churches, schools, scout troops, day care centers and hotels. These vehicles look like any other van except they have been lengthened to hold more riders. The trouble is, when you put those extra passengers onboard, the van is three times more likely to rollover in an emergency. The problem is also accelerated when luggage and other items are put on board along with the passengers.
Ford, GM and Dodge all make a version of the 15-passenger van. The vans roll over even when they do not collide with another vehicle. After several well-publicized crashes involving these vans, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took the unprecedented step of noting:
These crashes have raised the question as to whether 15-passenger vans, especially loaded 15-passenger vans, are unusually susceptible to rollover. Fifteen-passenger vans differ from most light truck vehicles in that they have a large payload capacity and the occupants sit fairly high up in the vehicle. Therefore, when loaded the vehicle may have a much worse rollover propensity than when unloaded.
NHTSA found that the risk of rollover increases as the number of occupants increases by as much as 85% with ten or more passengers. Car manufacturers agree that vehicles should be designed to slide out on flat smooth pavement instead of roll over. However, the 15-passenger van fails this standard. Hardest hit have been groups who use 15-passenger vans to transport the young. There have been numerous incidents of 15-passenger vans tragically altering lives and families of young people across the country.
Recently a 15-passenger van rollover, which took place in New York, the occupants weren’t very fortunate. In this incident, six people were killed. This too involved a van being used by a church. There were 14 passengers in the van when a rear tire blew out. The van predictably rolled over several times. In addition to those killed, the other eight passengers were injured.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a passenger van accident, we encourage you to call our Toledo, Ohio personal injury lawyers for a free case evaluation or to request your FREE copy of The Ohio Accident Book.