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15-Passsenger Van Accidents: NHTSA Reissues Consumer Warning

With autumn underway and the winter driving season approaching, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reminding the drivers of 15-passenger vans to take certain steps to protect the occupants in their vehicles from getting hurt.

15-passenger vans are known to have a higher rollover rate than most other autos. Not only does their high gravity center and rear ends that can go back up to four feet beyond the rear axle make them a rollover risk when the van is fully loaded, but also, their weight increases the risk of a tire blowout. Tire failure is another leading cause of 15-passenger van rollover crashes. Although the NHTSA now requires that the newer vans come with electronic stability control systems, there are still older 15-passenger vans that are still in use that lack this safety system.

Our Boston injury lawyers are familiar with the safety issues and auto defects involving 15-passenger vans that can result in catastrophic injuries and deaths for vehicle occupants and others.

NHTSA Tips for 15-Passenger Van Drivers:

• Make sure your van is properly maintained.
• Make sure that you are trained and experienced to operate a 15-passenger van.
• Use tires that are the appropriate size.
• Make sure the tires are properly inflated before you go anywhere. Tire failures are a leading cause of 15-passenger van rollovers.
• Ensure that your passengers are wearing seat belts before you start the vehicle.
• Drive at a safe speed.
• Don’t allow more than 15 people to ride in the van at a time.
• If the van isn’t full, make sure the occupants are sitting in front of the rear axle.
• Avoid placing cargo on the vehicle roof.
• Instead, cargo should be stored also in front of the rear axle.
• Don’t talk on the cell phone or text while driving.
• Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes • Remember that a 15-passenger van is longer and wider than a regular auto and allow for the room you need to maneuver it properly and safely when on the road.