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Rollover Hazard of 15 Passenger Vans
Risk Control Recommendations
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued recommendations on the operation of 15 Passenger Vans. The recommendations are the result of their investigation into two fatal van crashes. See NTSB July 15, 2003 press release.
 
Key findings in the NTSB report are:
  • Inconsistent federal regulations related to operation of these vehicles.
  • Lack of tire inspection and maintenance results in tire failure and crashes. 
  • Lack of appropriate safety standards for passenger restraints and occupant protection. 
NTSB recommends that each state establish drivers’ license endorsement for operating 15 passenger vans. To obtain the endorsement drivers would have to complete a course and pass a written test and a skills test.  
 
On April 9, 2001, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued its original Consumer Advisory regarding the rollover hazard of these vehicles. They reissued the advisory in April 2002 and October 2010. 

 
Key Findings in the NHTSA report are:
  • When fully loaded, 15 passenger vans are three times more likely to roll in an emergency maneuver. 
  • Non-professional drivers often over-estimate their skill and under-estimate the driving risk. They get themselves into tight spots. If unfamiliar with the handling characteristics of the vehicle, they overcorrect. The panic stop or emergency lane change sets up the crash. Physics take over.
  • Failure to wear seat belts dramatically reduces the likelihood of surviving a roll over.
State agencies continue to use 15 passenger vans for transporting clients or employees. We recommend that agencies review their use of these vehicles. If continued use is essential, document the analysis and implement appropriate risk controls. There may be additional actions you will choose based on your needs and your use of these vehicles. 

 
For more information read: 
*The National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) is responsible for providing a wide range of analytical and statistical support to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), United States Department of Transportation and the traffic safety community, through data collection, analysis, and crash investigation activities.