The Safety Risks of 15-Passenger Vans
Whether to drive children to school or daycare; transport seniors to their events; take athletic teams to sporting events; carry employees in work carpools, or deliver teenagers to youth programs, 15-passenger vans are preferred, and commonplace on our country's roads and highways. They're very popular, but these bulky and cumbersome vehicles can pose a serious safety risk to inexperienced van drivers who are not specifically to drive these large vans.
In our blog here at Axelrod Collision Center in Cleveland, OH we suggest that van drivers should always insist that all occupants in the van need to wear seat belts at all times; that drivers of 15-passenger vans are fully trained and highly experienced; check tires at least every week without exception; always refer to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure levels, and never carry loads that are placed on the van's roof.
While a 15-passenger van is indeed very convenient for operators and passengers, it does not necessarily drive the same way as a standard minivan. For this reason, both drivers and passengers must use extreme caution to minimize the risks associated with these larger vans.
Whenever driving a 15-passenger van, drivers need to take these safety precautions:
Experience: Fifteen-passenger vans should always be driven by very experienced, properly licensed drivers who drive this type of vehicle regularly. They must possess a commercial driver’s license in most states. It’s also vital for operators to know that 15-passenger vans handle differently than regular passenger cars, especially when they are fully loaded.
Attention: Always carefully focus on the task of safe driving by being well-rested, never use a handheld phone while driving, and avoid conversing with passengers if at all possible. Drivers shouldn’t drive more than eight hours per day, so that they won't be fatigued and distracted.
Speed: Always adhere to the posted speed limit, and make certain to reduce your speed as needed based on local road or weather conditions. Remember that 15-passenger vans will require additional braking time and won't handle abrupt maneuvers the way most passenger cars can.
Seat Belts: All passengers in the van need to wear their seat belts all the time without exception. Inspect the vehicle's seat belts on a regular basis and replace any missing, broken,and/or damaged belts and buckles. A 15-passenger-van occupant who isn't wearing seat belts involved in a single-vehicle crash is roughly four times more likely to be killed than a restrained occupant.
Occupancy: Never allow more than 15 people in a 15-passenger van. Fill the seats from front to back when the van is not completely full, and make sure that passengers should not sit in seats that are in front of the rear axel if possible.
Axelrod Collision Center, 4850 Brookpark Rd, Cleveland, OH 44134
Sources: Safety and Health Magazine and nationalpost.com