15-passenger vans have a capacity for the driver and fourteen passengers. They are frequently used by organizations to transport large groups of people and cargo to and from activities. Churches, colleges, and businesses use these vehicles on a regular basis. 15-passenger vans have the ability to fishtail and rollover because they are top heavy. The vans have a high center of gravity and when they are overloaded can become unstable. This can cause a great deal of harm to anyone involved in this type of accident.
Here are some statistics/facts concerning 15 passenger vans:
- There are an estimated 500,000 15 passenger vans on American roads.
- 15-passenger vans have a rollover ratio of 70 percent when filled with over fifteen passengers.
- The federal government has banned the purchase of 15-passenger vans foruse in schools, excluding colleges.
- Since 1990 over 400 people have died due to single-vehicle rollover accidents in 15 passenger vans.
Many 15 passenger vans have rears that reach over four feet past the rear wheels. Overloading in this area of the van can increase the instability of the vehicle while steering in emergency situations. In many cases the addition of dual wheels in the back of the van can lessen the risk of instability while driving in emergency situations. Some manufacturers will add the dual wheels for a few hundred dollars. Here are some other safety measures to remember while operating a 15 passenger van:
- Drivers should see that all passengers are properly wearing seat belts before operating the vehicle.
- Load the vehicle’s seats starting in the front.
- Position luggage in rear of the vehicle behind the back seat.
- Remove roof rack from the vehicle because they increase the center of gravity, which causes a higher chance of rollover.
- Do not talk on cell phones when driving the vehicle.
- Check tires for signs of wear, which can increase the possibility of rollover.
Many law suits are filed each year against manufacturers of 15 passenger vans on account of accidents that resulted in injuries or deaths. Ford and General Motors are currently the only companies manufacturing 15 passenger vans. In 2002 Daimler Chrysler stopped generating 15 passenger vans. Some 15 passenger vans that are currently being used are the Ford Econoline E350, GMC Rally/Vandura G3500, Chevrolet Express 3500, Dodge Ram Van/Wagon B3500, and the GMC Savana G3500.
- In January 2003 one child was killed and five others were seriously injured when a 15 passenger van was in an accident.
- In September 2002 in the state of Maine 14 passengers were killed in an accident in a 15 passenger van.
In April 2001 the U. S. Department of Transportation issued a warning regarding the use of 15-passenger vans. The warning stated that 15-passenger had an increased risk of rollover under certain conditions. This warning reinforces that fact that drivers need to be cautious while operating these vehicles.
Attorney Nick Lowe has been protecting the rights of seriously injured victims and their families throughout the Sacramento area since 1992. He has vast knowledge in all areas of personal injury law, including accidents, wrongful death, product liability and premises liability. Attorney Lowe has recovered substantial settlements for seriously injured clients in Northern California. He is respected in the community for his integrity, aggressive representation, and successful case outcomes.