The jury at a coroner’s inquest into the deaths of three women in a 15-passenger van crash in Canada recommended that large passenger vans be classified as high risk vehicles. At the 15-passenger van and SUV rollover law firm of Reiff & Bily this is something we have known and adamantly warned consumers about for many years. When a 15-passenger van is loaded with more than six people, it can become unstable. As more people are loaded in the van, the instability increases to dangerous proportions with an increased unsafe handling and rollover risk. Every year people are killed in 15-passenger vans and unfortunately most of the time it involves students or churchgoers who are unaware of safety issues involving these vehicles. 15-passenger vans have long been the subject of debate over safety yet reports indicate that there are close to one million on the roadways of the United States.
Recently West Chester University in Pennsylvania issued a directive attempting to prevent the increased risk of accidents and injuries associated with the operation and occupancy of 15-passenger vans. This directive is posted on my website and should be read by anyone considering riding in the same, although this experienced 15-passenger van rollover attorney would advise one to avoid driving or occupying a 15-passenger van under any circumstances.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has warned that 15-passenger vans from all domestic manufacturers have a significantly increased risk of rollover much more so than other vehicles under certain driving and occupancy conditions. Accident avoidance maneuvers and overloading is often a major factor contributing to 15-passenger van accidents. Our investigations in these cases has revealed that the manufacturers knowingly put these vehicles on the streets with understanding and knowledge that they had a high potential for catastrophic accidents resulting in fatalities but the large sales and profitability of these vehicles outweighed their regard for consumer safety. We believe that these vehicles are perhaps one of the most unsafe vehicles on our highways.