Fatal 15 Passenger Van Collision Serves as Primer on Hazards Associated with These Motor Vehicles


April 25, 2013

A fatal accident involving a 15 passenger van that was transferring a church group in Florida last weekend provides a reminder as to why so many schools and insurance companies oppose the use of these dangerous vehicles.

The 15 passenger van suffered a blowout and rolled over the center median when the rubber from the tire separated from the wheel. One person inside the van was ejected from the vehicle and died while the other occupants of the van suffered injuries of varied degrees of severity. The passenger van was fully loaded with passengers and was transporting a lot of luggage on the roof of the vehicle according to police statements to the AP.

Despite the tragic outcome of the 15 passenger van rollover crash, a police spokesman told the AP that the vehicle occupants were "very fortunate" that only one person died in the collision. Our experienced Atlanta 15 passenger van accident attorneys have previously addressed the unique risks posed by these dangerous vehicles. These vehicles are so unsafe that legislators in some states have banned the use of passenger vans in transporting students in public schools and a growing number of insurance companies refuse to provide coverage for these vehicles.

This accident provides a primer on the unique dangers that are posed by the design defects and safety issues typically associated with 15 passenger vans. Virtually all of the factors that make these vehicles unsafe appear to have been involved in this deadly crash:

Rollover Risk: The design of 15 passenger vans makes them top heavy particularly when fully loaded with passengers and transporting luggage with the roof luggage rack. This high center of gravity combined with placement of seating behind the rear axle makes the rear of the vehicle likely to rotate forward when executing an emergency stop which makes the risk of rollover extremely high. As the number of passengers and amount of luggage increases, there is an exponential increase in the risk of the vehicle being involved in a fatal collision.

Vehicle Ejection Risk: Because these vehicles are really just converted cargo vans, they often do not have sufficient functioning seatbelts to accommodate all vehicle occupants. Sometimes there are not sufficient seatbelts installed while in other cases seatbelts are not maintained or functioning correctly. Because of the high risk of rollovers involving 15 passenger vans, it is imperative that every passenger use a seatbelt.

Tire Pressure and Tire Age: Many collisions involving passenger vans involve tire blowouts caused by failure to monitor tire pressure or failure to replace old tires rotted by sun exposure. When tires are not carefully monitored and replaced, there is a high risk of a tire blowout that can cause a passenger van to be involved in a rollover accident.

Despite the widespread acknowledgement of the dangers posed by passenger vans, many churches, long-term care facilities for seniors, youth organizations and more use these vehicles to transport unsuspecting passengers.  

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Category: Auto Accidents

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