The NHTSA safety advisory makes the following specific recommendations to reduce the rollover risk associated with 15-passenger vans:
Ÿ Accept fewer than 10 occupants.
Ÿ Load occupants from the front of the van.
Ÿ Require each passenger to wear a seat belt at all times. The van owner should adopt a written seat belt policy, and drivers should be informed that they are personally responsible for enforcing it. Nearly 80 percent of those killed in 15-passenger van rollovers in 2000 were not wearing seat belts.
Ÿ Load absolutely nothing on the van roof.
Ÿ Ensure that van drivers are well rested.
Ÿ Drivers should drive cautiously, maintaining a safe speed under the conditions and being especially careful on rural and curved roads).
Ÿ Inspect tires monthly to check for wear and proper inflation. Worn or improperly inflated tires increase the risk of a blowout. A 15-passenger van’s tendency to roll over increases dramatically during emergency maneuvers, such as when a driver makes a panic response to a tire blowout.
Ÿ If the van’s wheels drop off the roadway, gradually reduce speed and steer back onto the road when it is safe to do so.
Ÿ Only use drivers who have received specific training on the use of 15-passenger vans. Several options are available, including a van driver certification course offered by the National Safety Council. This training should be repeated every 3 years.
Ÿ Drivers should keep the van’s gas tank as full as possible.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration