When individuals think of vans, the connotations are often on the transportation vehicle that is used in a personal facet, rather than a commercial one. However, when it comes to 15-passenger vans, their use can be extremely varied: from personally use the van for trips to using vans for commercial operations. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although these vans can have many different uses, they can often come at a greater risk of rollover. This can largely be attributed to:
- Inexperienced drivers
- Improperly sized and/or inflated tires
- Incorrectly loaded cargo and passengers that affect the center of gravity, which is indicated by too much weight of cargo or too many passengers to the vehicle.
Although this information is often relayed when one buys a van in the first place, there are unfortunately too many accidents that can occur as a result of simply not following strict safety information. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, between 1994 and 2004 alone there were an estimated 1,512 fatal crashes that involved 15-passenger vans. Of 642 fatal incidents, 515 of them were as a result of the vehicle rolling over. In 2004 alone, 120 occupants lost their lives in crashes that involved 15-passenger vehicles.
Moreover, more than half of the 15-passenger vans that were involved in single vehicle accidents occurred as a result of a rollover compared to one third of passenger cars. Additionally, 81 percent of all crash related occupant deaths that involved 15-passenger vans also occurred as a result of single vehicle rollover accidents.
What this information works to show is that 15-passenger vehicles can prove to cause serious accidents that can often result in death of passengers. In addition, as the information outlined above works to show, these vehicles can also cause major accidents with other vehicles, resulting in deaths of both passengers of these vans and other vehicles involved in the incident as well.
There are many reasons why these accidents can occur, such as:
- Types of passengers: Oftentimes, these vans can be used to transport passengers such as sports teams, day care children, students of many ages, the elderly, church groups, and other types of groups. This may mean that drivers are ill prepared and ill trained to handle passengers or that the passengers themselves can become a distraction.
- Underinflated Tires / Tire Failure: Although tire failure has only resulted in two deaths, in 2001, this does not negate the potential for it to occur. It is essential to ensure that tires are properly inflated, are well maintained, and are checked on a regular basis.
- Too much cargo / too many passengers: It is essential to take stock of the specific load requirements and ensure that they are met to ensure proper handling.
- Rollovers: As mentioned, rollovers are a significant problem. It is essential to ensure that the rules of the road are constantly followed.
By understanding what kind of problems can create these types of accidents they can be utilized as a stepping point in order to prevent them from occurring in the future.
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