New research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found June through August to be the deadliest time of year for 15-passenger van occupants, due to rollover crashes. Statistics show that 31 percent of fatal rollovers involving 15-passenger vans occur during the busy summer travel months.
The NHTSA also emphasizes that conventional 12 to 15-passenger vans cannot be used as school buses because they are not certified to carry students on a regular basis, and thus cannot be sold or leased as new vehicles to carry students on a regular basis. NHTSA data shows a significant increase in rollover risk when the van is fully loaded with drivers and passengers.
In 2006, 50 percent of occupant fatalities that occurred were in vans that were fully loaded. Fifty-nine percent of those killed were unbelted. Other factors that contribute to rollover incidents include improperly inflated tires, poor tire condition and inexperienced drivers. Owners should follow manufacturers recommendations for replacing old tires because tires may become less safe after a certain period of time, even if they have adequate tread and proper inflation.
Overall statistics show the number of deaths in 15-passenger van rollover crashes has been declining steadily since 2001. However, these vehicles still pose a safety risk to occupants, claiming the lives of 58 people in accidents in 2006.
Top Safety Tips for 15-Passenger Vans Seat Belts
– All occupants need to wear seat belts at all times.
Tire Pressure – Inspect the tires and check tire pressure before each use. Driver – A 15-passenger van should only be operated by trained, experienced drivers who operate these vehicles on a regular basis. Attention – Driver should be well rested and limit use of cell phones, conversations with other passengers, and limit drive time to eight hours per 24-hour period.
Occupant Positioning – When a 15-passenger van is not full, passengers should sit in seats that are in front of the rear axle.
Capacity – More than 15 people should never be allowed to ride in a 15-passenger van.
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