Dangers of Large Passenger Vans and Federal Safety Recommendations


February 17, 2017

Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers Highlight Dangers of Large Passenger Vans and Federal Safety Recommendations

While large passenger vans continue to constitute a significant cause of serious injury and fatalities, these dangerous vehicles are still used by many community organizations to transport passengers to and from events and on short excursions. Manufacturers of twelve and fifteen passenger vans have long been aware of the dangers, but many dangerous vans continue to travel the roadways of Georgia, putting passengers at risk of serious injury. In this blog article, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers highlight recent evidence that reinforces prior concerns about the safety of large passenger vans.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted research that revealed 15-passenger vans are far more likely to roll over in a collision when transporting ten or more passengers. This increased risk results from the center of gravity shifting higher and rearward with the increased weight of more passengers. This shift in the center of gravity reduces the van's ability to remain upright in a crash and impairs the handling of the vehicle in emergency situations. When passengers transport cargo on the roof rack, this weight also contributes to the higher center of gravity.

In analyzing fifteen-passenger van rollovers, the NHTSA noted rollovers involving large passenger vans occur in three separate situations:

  • The motorist overcompensates when responding to the wheels of the vehicle dropping off the edge of the pavement or a sudden emergency.
  • A motorist is involved in a roadway departure while traveling on a rural road, and the vehicle tips when striking an embankment or ditch.
  • Tired and fatigued drivers often fall asleep and lose control of large passenger vans so that the vehicles slide sideway off the road and the tires dig into the dirt.

As these scenarios demonstrate, rollover accidents involving 15-passenger vans tend to occur when a driver loses control of the vehicle. The NHTSA reports that 90 percent of 15-passenger van rollovers occur when a driver loses control of the vehicle and drives off of the roadway.

While the design of these vehicles makes them inherently dangerous, the NHTSA suggests the following to mitigate the risk of death or serious injury in a 15-passenger van rollover accident:

  • Tire Maintenance: Tire pressure should be maintained at levels consistent with manufacturer specifications, and the tire tread must not be too worn. Improperly inflated tires can lead to tire blowouts. A vehicle will have a tendency to slide sideways and tip on a slippery or wet roadway when tires lack sufficient tread.
  • Intoxicated Driving: While it is unsafe to operate any motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, the unique handling characteristics of a 15-passenger van make this practice even more dangerous.
  • Passenger Seating: If a 15-passenger van is not fully loaded, passengers should sit in seating located in front of the rear axle.
  • Caution on Rural Roads: Drivers should obey the speed limit and be cautious on curves especially on rural roads.
  • Dropping Off the Roadway: If the van's wheels drop off the roadway, the driver should gradually reduce his or her speed and steer back onto the roadway when safe.
  • Maximum Occupancy: Motorists should never transport more than 15 people in a 15-passenger van, but 9 passengers or less is safer.
  • Drowsiness: Drivers should never operate a 15-passenger van when drowsy or fatigued.

Contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you or a loved one are injured, it is important that you consider speaking with a Georgia Accident and Injury Attorney at Montlick & Associates as soon as possible. Truck accident injuries can leave you with excessive medical bills, lost income, and an uncertain future as to whether you can work again. At Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, our firm has more than thirty-three years of experience helping injured individuals from all over Georgia.

If you would like to discuss your or a loved one's personal injuries with one of our Georgia Personal Injury and Workers' Compensation Attorney, contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law today by calling (800) LAW-NEED (529-6333) to schedule your free consultation. You may also visit us online at www.montlick.com to complete a Free Case Evaluation Form, and you may also participate in a 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law

17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333
Toll Free:   1 (800) LAW-NEED
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Sources:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/passenger-vans

https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/nhtsa-urges-15-passenger-van-users-always-check-tires-driving

https://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/federal-regulators-warn-of-15-passenger-van-rollover-danger/?_r=0

Category: Personal Injury

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.