Safety experts urge caution with 15-passenger vans ahead of summer travel season

Safety experts urge caution with 15-passenger vans ahead of summer travel season

(WBRC) - The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and Alabama Department of Community and Economic Affairs want to make sure the public is aware of safety concerns associated with 15-passenger vans, especially before the summer travel season.

These vehicles are commonly used by churches and other organizations for trips. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 15-passenger vans can be difficult to operate safely by an inexperienced driver. NHTSA says the vehicles can be prone to rollover crashes, and the older models do not have the safety technologies that are required on new vehicles.

When driving a 15-passenger van, NHTSA advises the following precautions:

  • Rollover - Nearly 60 percent of fatalities in crashes involving 15-passenger vans were a result of the vehicles rolling over.
  • Maintenance - Fatal rollovers of 15-passenger vans are most likely to involve tire failure, since excessively worn or improperly inflated tires can lead to a loss of vehicle control and ultimately a rollover.
  • Handling - Driver experience is essential to safely operating these vehicles (a commercial driver’s license is preferred).
  • Belt use - An unbuckled 15-passenger van occupant involved in a single-vehicle crash is about three times as likely to be killed as an occupant wearing a seat belt.
  • Replacement Tires - Van owners should check the vehicle owner’s manual for correct size and load ratings when replacing tires. Tires that are older than 10 years should be replaced, including the spare.

Find more information about 15-passenger van safety at this link.

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