The Dangers of 15-Passenger Vans
15-passenger vans have long been used by church and school groups, as well as large families, to transport up to 15 people at once. While these vans permit groups to travel together without having to use as many vehicles, they have many safety defects that make them inherently dangerous.
15-passenger vans came about at a time when there were not many options for people wanting to move more than 8 people at once. Ford, Dodge, and other carmakers decided, after learning of the demand for larger-capacity passenger vehicles, to take their large utility vans and lengthen them. The utility vans were lengthened and had seats and more windows added to the frame.
When the vans were re-designed, an already top heavy van got even more top heavy. The engine for these vans is small and at the front of the vehicle. 15 people in the van add a significant amount of weight to the upper portions of the van. This raises the center of gravity of the vehicle and leads to an increased chance of roll-over accidents.
In addition to being top heavy, these large passenger vans are, reportedly, extremely difficult to steer when they are fully loaded with people. The vans are susceptible to over-steering in emergency situations, which increases the potential for roll-over accidents even following minor emergency situations.
The final serious danger of the van is its lack of crashworthiness once it rolls. Once the van starts rolling, it is no longer crashworthy. This leads to a greater number of deaths in rollover accidents in 15-passenger vans than if the passengers had been in other vehicles.