Special Reports

SAFETY TIPS FOR 15-PASSENGER VANS

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

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