Posted On: May 29, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Chicago Motor Vehicle Accidents: NHTSA Warns 15-Passenger Van Riders of Rollover Dangers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reminding 15-passenger van users to drive carefully and exercise the proper safety precautions to prevent a tragic rollover accident from happening. Studies show that these large vehicles are at higher risk than passenger vehicles of rolling over—especially when fully loaded with luggage and passengers.

The NHTSA has reported that more deadly 15-passenger van accidents occur between the months of June through August than any other time of the year because the US summer months are usually when many families and other groups tend to travel together.

Latest NHTSA 15-Passenger Van Statistics:

• 15-passenger van occupant fatalities increased by almost 20% between 2006 and 2007.
• 15-passenger van drivers made up approximately 25% of these fatalities between 2003 and 2007.
• 45 peopled died in 15-passenger van rollovers—a 73% increase from 2006.
• Approximately 80% of people killed in 15-passenger van accidents over the past 5 years were not wearing seatbelts.

It doesn’t help that 15-passenger vans are designed in a way that loading the vehicle can result in its center of gravity shifting toward the rear, which increases the likelihood that the driver will lose control of the van during an emergency situation or that a rollover accident will happen. It is important to note that vehicle manufacturers are responsible for making sure that their motor vehicles are designed in such a way that the chances of a rollover or another deadly accident happening are decreased rather than increased. Failure to exercise this duty of care can be grounds for a products liability lawsuit in the event of a Chicago car accident.

That said, 15-passenger van drivers, like all motor vehicle operators responsible for transporting large groups of people on the road, must have the experience to safely operate such a large vehicle.

Consumer Advisory: Federal Government Restates Rollover Warning for 15-Passenger Vans Users, NHTSA, May 20, 2009

Fatalities to Occupants of 15-Passenger Vans, 2003 - 2007, NHTSA (PDF)

Related Web Resources:

15-Passenger Van Safety Hazard Information, Public Citizen

Please contact our Chicago car accident law firm if you or someone you love was seriously injured in a 15-passenger van crash because the van driver, another motorist, or another party was negligent.

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