Fifteen-passenger vans are in widespread use for sporting teams, religious groups and numerous others. The vans are popular because they provide a relatively inexpensive way to transport a group of people in a vehicle that anyone with a regular license can drive.
These vans have a high propensity to rollover during emergency maneuvers as they are manufactured top heavy, with a high center of gravity and have weak rear extensions. Due to the classification of this type of vehicle (cargo vans / bus), manufacturers are not legally required to uphold basic safety rules that could protect its passengers in accidents. This risk increases dramatically with each additional passenger in the van.
An investigation by CBS News revealed at least 424 people nationwide have been killed and hundreds seriously injured in rollovers of the vans since 1990. There are more than a half a million passenger vans on the road today with 21,000 being sold annually.
Public Citizen, a national non-profit public interest group, reported that between 1990-2000, 864 occupants died in 15 passenger van crashes with almost half occurring in single vehicle rollover crashes. This propelled the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue its first warning and report in April 2001 followed by another warning in April 2002. Public Citizen continues to pressure NHTSA for more action, testing and stronger standards and warnings to protect the consumer. They also continue to pressure General Motors, Ford and Daimler Chrysler to offer the same retrofit packages ($300 - $400) that have been provided on pick-up trucks for years. For more on passenger vans click here.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a report discussing the 15-passenger van’s propensity for rollover. The report noted that when loaded with 10 or more occupants, the rollover ratio for 15-passenger vans is three times that when loaded with five or fewer passengers. When filled with over fifteen passengers the 15-passenger vans have a rollover ratio of 70 percent. They also provided a report to reduce the risk of rollover crashes. For more information on passenger vansclick here.
GuideOne Insurance has also issued a report warning their clients of the dangers of this van stating the vans are “inherently unsafe.” GuideOne has stopped selling new policies for the 15-passenger vans; this is the first time in the company’s 55-year history that GuideOne has eliminated a line of coverage for safety reasons.
SUV Rollover Attorneys in Palm Beach County, Florida
Despite high fuel expenses, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are in widespread use throughout Florida and across the nation. Among the many reasons for which SUVs are popular, drivers have the misconception that they are safer in SUVs than in other vehicles. However, many SUVs have a higher propensity than automobiles to roll over during emergency maneuvers and other situations.
SUVs tend to have a higher center of gravity than other vehicles, which can greatly reduce stability in certain situations such as during tight turns or emergency swerving maneuvers to avoid an accident. Vehicle instability may be influenced by multiple factors, including:
- Vehicle height
- Width between wheels
- Design of suspension system
- Number of passengers in the vehicle
- Tire grip
- Other factors
Unfortunately, drivers and passengers involved in SUV rollover accidents and other rollover accidents are more likely to sustain catastrophic injuries such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or suffer a fatal death.
When a vehicle's safety and/or stability features fail to provide an occupant reasonable protection from injury, automakers may be held financially responsible for the injuries or fatalities that result from those failures.
Experienced Florida Law Firm: Handling Tread Separation, Auto Crash and SUV Rollover Litigation
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC has successfully litigated auto crashworthiness cases in Florida and throughout the nation. Our SUV rollover experts, in Palm Beach County, are adept at pursuing fair restitution for those injured or coping with the loss of a family member following an SUV rollover. Whether an accident involves a tire blowout (caused by tread separation) which contributed to the accident or a defective roof design that contributed to the extent of driver and passenger injuries in the rollover, we understand the complex nature of these cases and the magnitude of the injuries that are frequently involved.