Drivers of passenger vans are urged to take specific steps to protect passengers from rollover accidents.
Passenger vans are commonly used for transporting children to and from school and private day care centers, senior citizens, and small group transportation. Many small organizations and businesses that use passenger vans claim that they are convenient, as opposed to hiring or using buses. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), passenger vans are hazardous vehicles and should not be used for transporting children.
Why Passenger Vans Are Dangerous
Passenger vans were first designed in the year 1970 to transport cargo. That is the reason why passenger vans do not fall under the federal motor vehicle safety standards enlisted for buses and passenger cars. Passenger vans are also exempted from a number of federal safety regulations. Passenger vans have a high rate of rollover accidents. They often do not perform well in crash tests and do not meet safety requirements.
- In 2007, passenger van occupant fatalities increased by 20%.
- Over the past five years, about one-fourth of fatally injured passenger van occupants were drivers.
- 2007 saw 45 fatalities due to passenger van rollovers – an alarming 73% increase from 2006.
- About 80% of fatalities in passenger van rollovers were not restrained.
NHTSA Safety Regulations
The statistics indicate just how hazardous passenger vans are. The NHTSA does not allow passenger vans to be purchased for the purpose of transporting children and has published warnings for passenger van users.
- If passenger vans are transporting passengers, the passenger load should be limited. Research has indicated that the risk of rollovers increases by 9-12% with each added passenger.
- An NHTSA study found that 74% of passenger vans had improperly inflated tires, increasing the probability of rollovers. They recommend proper inspection of tire pressure and air before use.
- Passenger vans originally had lap or shoulder belts only on the outboard seats. However, a December 2004 federal rule requires all seats to have restraints and urges all passengers to use seatbelts.
- Passenger van owners are advised to seat passengers and place cargo at the front of the rear axle and to avoid placing heavy loads on the roof of the van.
- Overspeeding causes passenger vans to rollover. Drivers should, at all times, keep within the permitted speed limits.
- Passenger van owners should ensure that drivers are well trained and qualified to drive a passenger van. Drivers should always abstain from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Houston Accident Lawyer
Passenger van rollovers and accidents can be avoided if these precautions are followed. If you have been injured in a passenger van accident, speak to a Houston accident lawyer to understand your legal rights. Call RJ Alexander Law, PLLC at (832) 458-1756 for a free consultation.