Legal Restrictions on Use of 15-Passenger Vans for Youth Functions


June 21, 2011

Large passenger vans like those that carry 15 passengers are considered a high-risk vehicle despite their frequent use by youth organizations for outings in Georgia.

The irony of this is that they are usually used in situations where safety should be of paramount importance. They are often used by organizations such as churches and community groups to transport members. They also are used frequently for businesses where large crews of workers need transportation to different work locations.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues a safety advisory every year warning people about the risks of rollover accidents in these vans. Although it has not banned these vans from the roads altogether, it has promulgated restrictions on the use of these vehicles for schools. If these vehicles are sold to a school for the use of transporting students to or from schools or school-related events, then they must meet Federal school bus standards.

Non-school related organizations like day cares and churches can still legally use these vehicles and many still do. The NHTSA highly recommends that organizations use vehicles that comply with Federal school bus standards instead. Many dealerships sell these vans to these types of organizations and reportedly still try to illegally sell them to people that are going to use them for school purposes. Civil penalties are imposed on these dealerships and the fines can be substantial.

The Highway Safety Program Guideline 17, Pupil Transportation Safety, specifically recommends that any vehicle designed to carry more than 10 persons which is used as a school bus must comply with all Federal safety standards applicable to school buses at the time the vehicle was manufactured.

A number of design flaws make these vehicles particularly prone to dangerous van accidents when used on Georgia roadways. One of the major flaws in the design of these larger 15 passenger vans is their length. They are so long that when a driver tries to make abrupt turns or to brake hard, the van does not respond well or in time to avoid a motor vehicle crash. Another major design flaw that affects the propensity of these vans to rollover in an accident is their high center of gravity. Whenever a vehicle is higher off the ground, like these vans and SUV's, there is a higher chance of a deadly rollover accident than in a standard automobile.

At Montlick and Associates, we have been representing victims of tragic motor vehicle accidents for over 27 years. If you or someone you love is seriously injured or killed in a Georgia van accident, our Georgia van accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates can evaluate the circumstances of your motor vehicle accidents and fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Call Montlick and Associates today to see how we can help.

Our experienced Georgia auto accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. 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 www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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