Deadly passenger van lawsuits, 15-passenger van lawsuits, fatal van rollover lawsuits, and fifteen-passenger van safety are in the news after two recent fatal crashes, in New York and Georgia, involving 15-passenger vans that rolled over and resulted in 10 deaths as well as two fatal passenger van accidents in Canada. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged users of 15-passenger vans to take specific steps to keep occupants safe including not using fifteen passenger vans to transport groups of school children to events on a regular basis.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal rollover crash or have been seriously injured by a defective SUV or other automobile with defective brakes, defective roof design, defective accelerator, defective rollover design, defective tires, or other defective crashworthiness features, feel free to submit an inquiry or send an e-mail to Texas Deadly Van Rollover Crash lawyer Jason Coomer.
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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards set minimum performance requirements for those vehicle parts that protect drivers and passengers from death or serious injury in the event of a crash (air bags, safety belts, child restraints, energy absorbing steering columns, motorcycle helmets). These vehicle performance requirements, defective automobile crashworthiness lawsuits, manufacturer safety policies, and the investigation efforts of the The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are important to identify unsafe vehicles with defective airbags, defective seat belts, defective child restraints, defective roof design, defective designs that cause vehicle fires, and defective designs that cause vehicle rollovers.
As the fall and winter driving seasons get under way, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging users of 15-passenger vans to take specific steps to keep occupants safe. Two recent fatal crashes, in New York and Georgia, involving 15-passenger vans that rolled over and resulted in 10 deaths give urgency to this reminder.
The agency warns that tire maintenance is paramount to preventing tragedies, such as these recent rollover crashes, from occurring. Users of 15-passenger vans need to make sure the vehicles have appropriately-sized tires that are properly inflated before every trip. The agency also points out that tires degrade over time. For this reason, NHTSA recommends that spare tires not be used as replacements for worn tires. In fact, many tire manufacturers recommend that tires older than 10 years not be used at all.
NHTSA said that it is directing this advisory to church groups, other non-profit organizations and colleges that may be keeping older 15-passenger vans in service longer than usual because of tight transportation budgets. Pre-primary, primary and secondary schools should not use 15-passenger vans for transporting school children, as they do not provide the same level of safety as school buses. It is also against federal law for schools to buy new 15-passenger vans for school transportation purposes.
Here are some safety tips for anyone planning a trip in 15-passenger vans:
If you are an owner, make sure the vehicle is properly maintained.
Owners should make sure drivers are fully trained and experienced in operating a 15-passenger van and are properly licensed.
15-passenger vans are very sensitive to loading and should not be overloaded under any circumstances. Agency research shows overloading not only increases rollover risk but makes the vehicle more unstable in any handling maneuvers.
Owners should make sure that properly sized tires are being used on their vehicles.
Before every trip, drivers should check the tires for proper inflation, and make sure there are no signs of wear. Correct tire size and inflation pressure information can be found in the owner’s manual.
If you are a passenger, make sure you buckle up for every trip.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the authority to regulate the first sale or lease of a new vehicle by a dealer. Our statute at 49 U.S.C. §30112 requires any person selling or leasing a new vehicle to sell or lease a vehicle that meets all applicable standards. Under our regulations, a "bus" is any vehicle, including a van, that has a seating capacity of 11 persons or more. Our statute defines a "school bus" as any bus which is likely to be "used significantly" to transport "preprimary, primary, and secondary" students to or from school or related events (emphasis added). 49 U.S.C. §30125. A 12 to15-passenger van that is likely to be used significantly to transport students is a "school bus."
If the new bus is sold or leased to transport students (e.g., leased on a regular or long-term basis), it is a "school bus" and must meet NHTSA's school bus standards. Conventional 12 to15-passenger vans are not certified as doing so, and thus cannot be sold or leased, as new vehicles, to carry students on a regular basis.
Top Priority: Tire Safety
Fatal rollovers of 15-passenger vans are most likely to involve tire failures. NHTSA research shows that tires on 15-passenger vans are often under inflated and in use past their service life. For example, a 2004 NHTSA study showed that 56% of vans had at least one significantly underinflated tire. Click HERE for a summary of this study.
Aged tires are more prone to failure even if they appear to be new (as in the case of original spare tires). Owners and drivers of these vans need to be especially diligent in maintaining correct tire pressure and must be aware that tires deteriorate over time regardless of use. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced every six years regardless of tread depth.
Safety Tips for 15-Passenger Vans
TIRE PRESSURE Inspect the tires and check tire pressure before each use. A van’s tires need to be properly inflated and the tread should not be worn down. Excessively worn or improperly inflated tires can lead to a loss of vehicle control and possibly a rollover. Pressure for front and back tires may be different, and pressure is likely higher than that required for car tires. A placard on the driver’s side B-pillar or the owner’s manual lists manufacturer recommended tire size and pressure. photo - tire pressure label * SPARES Avoid using old spares when replacing worn tires since all tires, even unused tires, weaken with age. Used 15-passenger vans may come with new looking spare tires that are many years old and could be dangerous.
DRIVER 15-passenger vans should only be operated by trained, experienced drivers who operate these vehicles on a regular basis. The driver needs to possess a valid driver’s license for state of residence (a commercial driver’s license is preferred). 15-passenger van drivers need additional training since these vehicles handle differently than passenger cars, especially when fully loaded.
ATTENTION Driver should be well-rested and attentive to driving at all times. Cell phone use by the driver while the van is in motion should be prohibited. Driver should also limit conversation with other passengers, and drive time should be limited to eight hours per 24-hour period.
SIZE A 15-passenger van is substantially longer and wider than a car, and thus requires more space to maneuver. It also requires additional reliance on the side-view mirrors for changing lanes.
SPEED Drive at a safe speed based on driving conditions. Driver should never exceed the posted speed limit. Always slow down if the roads are wet or icy because 15-passenger vans do not respond well to abrupt steering maneuvers and require additional braking time.
OCCUPANCY Never allow more than 15 people to ride in a 15-passenger van. When the van is not full, passengers should sit in seats that are in front of the rear axle.
CARGO Cargo should be placed forward of the rear axle and placing any loads on the roof should be avoided. Do not tow anything behind the van. See the vehicle owner’s manual for maximum weight of passengers and cargo and avoid overloading the van.
SEAT BELTS All occupants need to wear seat belts at all times. Inspect seat belts regularly and replace any missing, broken or damaged belts and/or buckles. An unrestrained 15-passenger van occupant involved in a single-vehicle crash is approximately three times as likely to be killed as a restrained occupant.
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Fifteen-passenger vans were originally designed to haul cargo, not human passengers and as such, 15-passenger vans lack basic safety features that are standard in other vehicles. In fact, studies have show that fifteen-passenger vans are inheritantly unstable and unsafe. These 15-passenger vans are three times more likely to flip and roll when they are fully loaded. Some consider these 15 passenger vans to be rolling death traps and unsuitable for human transport. In fact, Federal law prohibits the use of 15 passenger vans for school related transport of high school age and younger students.
September 30, 2010
A mother whose son died in a 15-passenger van crash has launched a national, class-action lawsuit against the Ford Motor Co., the van's manufacturer, that seeks compensation for all Canadians who purchased the controversial vans, or whose relatives were killed or injured in them.
A 26-year-old musician from Vancouver, was killed on September 2008 when the 15-seat, Ford E-series van in which he was travelling rolled at high speed off the Trans-Canada Highway in Manitoba. His mother has hired high-profile lawyer to handle her class action against Ford.
The claim seeks repayment of purchase costs to all Canadian owners of Ford, 15-passenger vans. It also seeks compensation for Canadian families whose relatives have been killed or injured in Ford 15-passenger van accidents.
Those accidents include the infamous crash that took the lives of seven students and a teacher from a high school in Bathurst, N.B., in 2008.
The families of people that were killed in these fatal 15-passenger Ford van rollover accidents, have teamed up to lobby the provincial and federal governments to ban 15-seat vans for the purposes of transporting schoolchildren in Canada. Although similar bans are in place in the United States, only Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec forbid schools from using 15-passenger vans to transport students in those provinces.
A Postmedia News investigation last year showed that almost 20 per cent of Canada's school districts still use 15-seat vans to transport students, mostly to off-site sports and other extracurricular events.
Fifteen-passenger vans have been labeled "death traps on wheels" by the Safety Forum, a U.S. consumer watchdog agency. Originally designed as cargo vans, they were converted for passenger use decades ago, but have not been fitted with the standard safety features and emergency-handling characteristics of cars, minivans and school buses.
Ford is the subject of this defective 15-passenger van lawsuit in Canada. This lawsuit arises out of multiple fatal crashes that have taken the lives of several people. For more information Ford Lawsuits, please go to the following web page, Ford Rollover Crash Lawsuits and Defective Vehicle Lawsuits.
Oct 22, 2010 at 10:58 AM CST
Fatal Passenger Van Lawyers have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a family whose daughter was killed on October 3, 2010 when the 1987 Dodge 15-passenger van in which she was a passenger rolled over several times and crashed. The van became uncontrollable after the tread on a rear tire separated, causing the tire to fail. The complaint included allegations of product liability, failure to warn, negligence and wantonness for the unsafe conditions of the van and tire. The Defendants include Chrysler Group, L.L.C., Chrysler Group Vans, L.L.C., and R&J Tire Co. Inc. The suit also alleges Phenix City based, The R & J Tire Company, failed to properly inspect and sold a Michelin tire that was placed on the van, which later blew out in the accident.
A spokesman for Chrysler stated prior to receiving the lawsuit that there's never a good outcome when vans are overcrowded and passengers fail to wear seatbelts. He went on to say the vehicle exceeds all federal safety standards and has an excellent safety record.
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As a Texas Fatal Van Crash, Jason Coomer, works on Texas Fatal Truck, SUV, Car, and Van Accident Lawsuits involving serious injuries and fatal automobile collisions all over the State of Texas and throughout the United States. In working on Texas Fatal SUV, Truck and Van Accident Law Suits, Jason Coomer commonly works with other Texas Passenger Accident Lawyers throughout Texas and the United States including Houston Fatal Passenger Van Crash Lawyers, Dallas Fatal Van Rollover Lawyers, El Paso Defective SUV and Van Crash Lawyers, and San Antonio Fatal Passenger Van Accident Lawyers.
In working with other Defective Passenger Van Lawyers, he is able to more efficiently investigate and litigate catastrophic injury and fatal automobile crash and deadly van wreck lawsuits that are caused by defective automobile design or parts.
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Texas Fatal Crash Rollover lawyer, Jason S. Coomer, helps individuals that have been seriously injured and the families of people that have been killed as a result of defective air bags, defective rollover design, defective roof design, defective safety restraint design, defective steering column design, or other a defective crashworthiness automobile design or part. If you have a question about a fatal rollover crash lawsuit or a SUV rollover crash roof collapse lawsuit, contact Austin Texas Passenger Van Crash lawyer Jason Coomer.