Whether to drive children to daycare, older people to senior citizen events, athletic teams to sporting events, employees in work carpools, or teenagers to youth programs, 15-passenger vans are in high demand and are prevalent on our nation's roads. However, these cumbersome vehicles can pose a safety risk to inexperienced van drivers and other road users.
In this section, we recommend that:
While a 15-passenger van is convenient, it does not necessarily drive like a minivan. Drivers and passengers must use caution to minimize the risks associated with these vehicles. When driving a 15-passenger van, drivers need to take the following safety precautions:
Driver Assistance Technologies
Driver assistance technologies provide consumers with vehicle innovations that save lives. These new technologies, including electronic stability control, forward collision warning, and lane assist are capable of eliminating 94 percent of fatal crashes involving human error.
In fact, thanks to electronic stability control, rollover is no longer a danger for newer 15-passenger vans.
NHTSA IN ACTION
NHTSA is dedicated to promoting safe behaviors on our nation's roads
The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) was signed into law on August 10, 2005. Under Title X, Subtitle C, Section 10309 of the law, Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to require testing of 15-passenger vans as part of NHTSA's NCAP rollover resistance program.
Previously, rollovers had been proven to be one of the most significant dangers for 15-passenger vans, with the risk increasing dramatically as the number of occupants increased from fewer than 5 to more than 10.
That same year, NHTSA established a new safety standard requiring tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) for light vehicles to help prevent tire failure (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 138, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems).
The safety standard applies to vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less, including buses and 15-passenger vans, and requires manufacturers to install a four tire TPMS that detects whether a tire is more than 25 percent under inflated. The TPMS then warns the driver of the issue.
With nearly 11 percent of fatal 15 passenger-van rollover crashes attributed to tire failure, the TPMS safety standard proves to be a significant safety advancement for these vehicles.
In 2008, NHTSA published a Research Note providing a descriptive assessment the fatalities of occupants of 15-passenger vans using 1997-2006 Fatality Analysis Reporting System data. Of specific interest are those that occurred in single vehicle rollovers. This research is available at www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/CMSWeb/index.aspx.
Percentage of 15 passenger van occupants killed in crashes from
Percentage of fatal 15 passenger vans rollover crashes that are attributed
Percentage of the 509 15 passenger