Large passenger vans are often used by church groups, non-profit groups, day cares and colleges to transport groups of people on field trips and other outings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a safety warning to drivers of 15-passenger vans that they should take steps to keep their occupants safe. The warning comes after two fatal rollover crashes, including a Georgia passenger van accident, which resulted in 10 deaths.  
Fatal rollovers of 15-passenger vans are most likely to involve tire failures.  The NHTSA says that proper tire maintenance cab prevent many rollover crashes from happening. Fifteen-passenger vans often have underinflated tires. Van owners should ensure that tires are properly inflated before every trip. 
Another common problem is tires that are old or worn.  Tires degrade over time and, NHTSA recommends that spare tires not be used as replacements for worn tires and that tires more than ten years old not be used at all.
The NHTSA also recommends schools should not use 15-passenger vans for transporting children, as they do not provide the same safety level as school buses. It is currently against federal law for schools to buy new 15-passenger vans to be used for school transportation purposes.
Safety tips for 15-passenger vans:
Make sure the vehicle is properly maintained. If you are an owner, you could be liable for rollovers that occur because of inadequate maintenance.

 Ensure that drivers are fully trained and have experience operating a 15-passenger van.  Make sure drivers are properly licensed.
Never overload a 15-passenger van.  Overloading increases rollover risk and makes the vehicle unstable in many driving maneuvers.
Owners should make the tires being used on the van are of the proper size and less than ten years old. The correct tire size information can be found in the owner’s manual.
Before every trip, check the tires for proper inflation and make sure there are no signs of wear. The inflation  pressure information can be found in the owner’s manual.
Make sure seat belts and other passenger safety devices are in working order.
Passengers should buckle up for every trip.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a school trip or other organized activity, you may be eligible for monetary compensation for your injuries, lost income, pain and suffering and other losses. To learn more, contact Atlanta accident attorney Shane smith at 770-HURT-999.
To get a head start on your Georgia accident claim, download our free guide: “10 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Georgia Wreck Case.”

Shane Smith
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Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia

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