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High Risk of Fatal Atlanta Rollover Accidents Involving 15-Passenger Vans

April 08, 2014

Rollover collisions constitute one of the most dangerous types of collisions in terms of catastrophic injuries like spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries and limb amputations. SUVs and pickup trucks have a high center of gravity so they are far more prone to rollovers than passenger cars. When SUVs and pickups roll over, there is a substantial risk of roof crush injuries and partial or full vehicle ejections. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicle rollovers constitute only three percent of motor vehicle accidents but these collisions account for a third of all motor vehicle accident related fatalities.

Passenger vans are regularly used to transport kids to youth activities, seniors on day trips from nursing homes and for many other purposes that might lead one to believe that these motor vehicles constitute a safe form of transportation. Despite this misconception, 15-passenger vans were designed as cargo vans that were not adequately redesigned as passenger vehicles. These vehicles are so dangerous that some insurance companies will not even provide coverage for these dangerous vehicles.

Unique design and handling issues that promote passenger van collisions

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there were over 1,500 fatal collisions involving passenger vans over a ten year period. There were more than a third of these fatal accidents that involved the 15-passenger vans rolling over. The federal agency's statistics also reveal that over 80 percent of vehicle occupant fatalities in accidents involving these passenger vans occurred in single vehicle rollover accidents.

The high center of gravity associated with 15-passenger vans makes them prone to rollover in collisions. The risk of a 15-passenger van rollover accident increases significantly as the passenger load increases. The likelihood that these vehicles will rollover triples when the number of passengers rises to 10 or more.

Because 15-passenger vans were not redesigned when they were adapted from cargo vehicles to passenger vehicles, they have design defects that make them particularly dangerous when loaded down with passengers and cargo. These vans appear like all other vans, but they have a lengthened body and additional seating behind the rear axle. When fully loaded, the center of gravity shifts upward and to the rear of the vehicle. The physics of this weight distribution increases the probability that a driver will lose control and that the vehicle will rollover when executing evasive maneuver.

Underlying theories of liability in 15-passenger van accidents

Many specific types of negligence can potentially contribute to fatal 15-passenger van collisions, including the following:

• Organizations entrusting drivers who are inexperienced with special handling characteristics of passenger vans
• Manufacturers designing and manufacturing defective vehicles
• Faulty tire maintenance including failure to monitor tire pressure
• Failure to equip or maintain vehicles with an adequate number of seatbelts

Despite the high risk of rollover collisions resulting in permanent debilitating injuries and wrongful death, these vans are still used as a common mode of transportation by youth sports teams, civic organizations, church groups, senior citizens, kids in day care and even commuters. The team of Atlanta auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer devastating injuries in motor vehicle accidents, including 15-paseenger vans, for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.