Of particular concern is the propensity of these large vans to roll over. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 15-passenger vans are more likely to be involved in single-vehicle rollover accidents than any other type of automobile.
Public Citizen, the consumer advocate group affiliated with Ralph Nader, calls 15-passenger vans “extremely hazardous vehicles” that are “prone to rollover and result in devastating crashes.” The group has called for a halt in the manufacture of the vans – to no avail.
If you or a loved one was seriously hurt or killed in an accident involving one of these vans, you may want to contact an attorney experienced with 15-passenger van accidents for a free evaluation of your case. Kline & Specter, PC is a Philadelphia law firm with experience representing victims of 15-passenger van accidents. We represent motor vehicle accident victims throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and nationwide.
The problem with the vans, says Public Citizen, is that the rear of the vehicles extends four to five feet or more beyond the rear wheels. Heavy loading with people or cargo creates instability during emergency maneuvers such as sudden turns and the vehicles then have a tendency to fishtail and roll over.
Public Citizen has cited statistics showing that most fatalities involving 15-passenger vans occur in rollover accidents that did not involve another vehicle. In other words, the type of vehicle appeared to have played a role in the accident and its severity.
A report by the National Transportation Safety Board cited 1,441 fatal crashes involving these large vans over an 11-year period. Of those accidents, 601 involved single-vehicle crashes and 316 were rollover accidents. The NTSB has noted that about one-third of passenger cars involved in single-auto accidents roll over, while about half of the 15-passenger vans involved in such accidents experience rollovers.
NHTSA has issued eight warnings about 15-passenger vans since 2001, the latest coming in 2012. While federal law now prohibits the use of these vans for school-related transportation for high school and younger students, they are still used by various college and private groups. It is estimated that roughly 500,000 of the vans are on U.S. roadways.
On April 25, 2006, 13 members of a track team were injured in a crash involving a 15-passenger van in Louisiana, where several years earlier two members of the Shreveport Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church were killed when the church’s 15-passenger van flipped over several times.
Kline & Specter PC, a Philadelphia-based law firm with some 30 attorneys, several of whom are also highly skilled doctors, has had success litigating product liability and auto accident lawsuits in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and nationwide. Please call 800-243-1100 to speak with a 15-passenger van accident lawyer today.