15 Passenger Van Safety Guidline

Many organizations rely on fifteen-passenger vans to transport people in cargo, but these vans do not handle like a regular passenger car. You see them on neighborhood roads, on city streets and on our nations highway. Driving 15 passenger vans require certain safety precautions. On this page you will learn why driving fifteen-passenger vans deserve special care and practical tips for transporting your passengers safely.
The involvement of fifteen passenger vans in crashes and the resulting injuries and deaths have raised many concerns about these vehicles. In 2002 in May, a fifteen-passenger van crashed and rolled over causing the deaths of fourteen passengers. Fifteen passenger vans usually have seating for a driver and fourteen passengers. Many different groups use them including colleges and universities. Military correctional facilities, van pools, daycare providers, airport shuffle services, churches, summer camps, school sports team, car rental agencies and organizations that transport migrant workers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA reports that in a recent twelve-year period, there were over one thousand five hundred fatal crashes involving fifteen-passenger vans, these accounted for over eleven hundred passenger deaths.
NHTSA research found that the rollover risk of a fifteen-passenger van dramatically increases as the number of passengers increase. In fact 15 passenger vans with 10 or more occupants had a rollover rate in single-vehicle crashes nearly three times the rate as when they were lightly loaded. The odds of this type of van rolling over, when it is filled to its capacity is five times the odds are rollover when the driver is the only one in the van. As more people fill in fifteen passenger van, the center of gravity moves upward and toward the rear the van, this makes the van more likely to rollover. It also makes the van handle differently from most cars, these factors increase the chances that a driver will lose control of the van especially when reacting to unforeseen circumstances like being cut off by another vehicle. NHTSA found that the rate of a rollover increase significantly at speeds over 50 miles per hour and uncurbed roads. Striking research also shows that safety belt use among occupants a fifteen-passenger vans is very low compared to other types of vehicles, increasing the odds of fatalities from a rollover. When it comes to crashes, the age of the driver was less of a factor than the amount of experience they had. A majority of highly publicized crashes involved inexperienced drivers. Many drivers tend to operate fifteen-passenger vans infrequently and often do not have formal training. Rollover crashes can be deadly, so it is important to know the common situation that causes the majority a fifteen-passenger van rollover. The first situation is when the van runs off the road the van could rollover when it hit a ditch or banquet. When it runs into a soft soil or stripped by running into or over a curb or similar object. The second coming causing a rollover involves the driver over correcting the steering when wheel drops off the pavement. When making a panic reaction to an emergency,  referred to as over steer it can cause the driver to lose control and rollover slide sideways especially when travelling at higher speed. When the rear the van slide sideways or fish tails, the driver may over steer causing the rear the van slides too much in the opposite direction. Once the van fishtail beyond 15 degrees , it is almost impossible to recover. A rollover can also occur when a driver is tired, dozes off at the wheel and loses control of the van.

Fifteen passenger vans driving safety tips:

When the driver is travelling too fast for the road conditions, especially when the pavement is wet or icy, the van can slides sideways up the road. When the tires at the soft earth the van could likely overturn. The first thing you remember when driving a fifteen-passenger van is that is not just a big car. A van handles differently especially when fully loaded. Drivers should be trained and experienced as a comparison, Federal law require a commercial drivers license to transport sixteen or more people for commercial purposes. Before setting off inspect the van and from familiarize yourself with the location of controls, such as head lights switches and windshield wipers, check the position of mirrors and adjust the seat to your body. Test drive the vehicles to check the brakes and steering and make sure the vehicles handling correctly, if you notice any problems, especially with the breaking or steering, have them checked right away. Tire pressure and tread wear should be checked at least once a week. Tires that are properly inflated or have warned threads can cause handling problems or even a blow-out. When loading the van, fill the front seats first, if possible have passenger and cargo forward at the rear axle. If the van is loaded to a capacity, remind yourself at the center of gravity has shifted in the van will handle differently, then when you are driving alone or with just a few people, you should never have more than fifteen people riding in the van. Avoid placing loads on the roof of the van as this also increases the risk of a rollover. One the most important safety tips when operating a van, is to make sure every passenger is buckled up at all times. NHTSA found that eighty percent of passengers killed in rollover crashes involving fifteen passenger vans were not wearing safety belts, looked at another way people who wear safety belts are 75% less likely to be killed in a rollover crash than those who do not, therefore its critical to require the use of safety belts. In December 2004, NHTSA issued a new rule requiring a rear center seats in all new passenger vehicles be equipped with lap and shoulder belts as opposed to just lap belts by the year 2008, this ruling includes new fifteen-passenger vans.

Defensive Driving:

While on the road use defensive driving techniques once driving 15 passenger van in Los Angeles, be alert and stay focused on your tasks, do not use your cell phones while driving, do not tailgate, leave more space between you and the vehicle in front of you then you would if you were driving a car. A fifteen-passenger van requires much more braking distance. On the highway be mindful your blind spots. A lot more space and your side mirrors when changing lanes. Most rollovers happened as a result of a sudden steering maneuver while travelling at high speeds, therefore do not follow other vehicles too closely and avoid changing lanes abruptly, drive at a safe speed for the weather and road conditions. Remember the speed you normally driving a car may be too fast for a fifteen-passenger van. In rural areas and neighborhood watch out for pedestrians, bicyclist and animals they could go into the road because a fifteen-passenger van is longer than more vehicles you drive. Be careful not to cut corners too sharply, striking occur with the rear wheel when turning could cause a rollover. When parking make sure the van does not stick out too far into the roadway where other vehicles could hit it. When reversing a fifteen-passenger van use a spotter when possible, back up to the left where the driver sides of the van, so you have better visibility and use your mirrors, as with any vehicle obey all traffic laws in signs. Many rollovers on fifteen passenger vans occur when the wheels of the van go off the roadway. It is extremely important to know what to do if this happens, first do not panic, do not brake suddenly or abruptly swing the van back on to the road. Instead gradually slow down and steer back onto the roadway, when it is safe to do so, be especially alert when driving in rural roads. Rural roads have more curves and softer shoulders than highway. Maintain a safe speed at all times.
When fifteen passenger vans are used for long trips, follow these additional safety guidelines.

If you are new to driving fifteen-passenger vans, find out if you can practice driving the van before you transport any passenger or cargo. This will help you get a feel for size and handling, remember however, that the way the van handles will change as it is loaded with more people in cargo. When driving alone with passengers, it can not be stressed enough that everyone should wear a safety belt all the times. As the driver require each person to put on his or her safety belt in order for the van to leave the parking lot. While driving avoid sharp turns, abrupt lane changes or steering maneuvers and always maintain a safe speed for the weather and road conditions.
You are in the drivers seat now follow the safety guidelines in this program for fifteen-passenger vans and make every trip a safe trip.