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A California Injury Lawyer Warns Against The Risk of Rollover Accidents Involving 15-Passenger Vans.

A series of recent van accidents has consumer groups outraged that little has been done to prevent rollover accidents with 15-passenger vans and other extended length van models, explains a California injury lawyer. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, as well as for the national, nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, have been pushing for years for redesigns and retrofits of these vehicles due to their unstable nature.


Last month, a van carrying nine adults—all members of a California metal band—rolled over. Tragically none of them were wearing their seat belts. One man was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident; the driver and other members were injured but, thankfully, are expected to recover.


In addition to public safety groups, the National Transportation Safety Board has been researching this topic for the last 20 years. Since 1994, there have been over 1500 fatal accidents involving 15-passenger vans and around 63% of those incidents have been rollover accidents. Some experts believe that these vans are inherently unsafe due their high center of gravity when fully loaded. 


Moreover, when these vans are fully loaded with 10 or more people, the center of gravity shifts rearward, subjecting the van to a higher risk of a rollover crash. Placing luggage on the roof also increases this risk.  


One step towards progress has been the mandatory installation of a new technology called electronic stability control (ESC) on all extended-length van models, which was implemented in 2004. Since tire failures are the main culprit in many of these accidents, the ESC system assists drivers—even during extreme steering maneuvers—allowing them to maintain control of the vehicle. Unfortunately, many schools, churches, daycare facilities, camps, and military facilities still might utilize older van models, explains a California injury lawyer. 


If you, or your family, intend to drive or ride in a 15-passenger van, following some simple safety tips can ensure a safer trip. 


Over 80% of all people killed in rollover accidents were not buckled up. Even though you might feel protected in such a large vehicle, it is even more important that you always have your seat belt fastened. These vans have a three times greater chance of rolling over than an average passenger vehicle. In some states, if you are over 18, you are not required to wear one, but for safety purposes, buckle up anyway!

Check tire pressure, condition, and obvious signs of wear and tear. Improperly inflated tires can lead to problems, especially with a fully loaded van.


Inquire if the driver has had proper training or experience with driving larger vans. These large vans drive differently and it is important that your family is with an experienced driver.


Additional information on 15- passenger vans, rollover accidents, and accident victims’ rights is available to the public free of charge.

To request a book or an article, or to speak with a California injury lawyer, feel free to call 1(866) 981-5596. 

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