Passenger vans that accommodate 12–15 occupants are frequently used by churches; airports; colleges; resorts; tour and travel agencies; and daycare and eldercare centers, among other organizations. They are convenient to use for bigger, but still relatively small, groups of people, but they also pose unique hazards to passengers.
What Causes Passenger Van Accidents?
Passenger vans are wider, taller, and longer than typical passenger vehicles. A driver must rely heavily on side mirrors to change lanes, and the braking distances are greater. The risk of rollover accidents is also greatly elevated. Research has shown that when there are 10 or more passengers in a 15-seat van, the rollover rate is three times as high as a van carrying five or fewer people. Some accidents can also be attributed to vehicle design, inadequate maintenance, dangerous roadways, and driver negligence.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) acknowledges that passenger vans fall into a gray area; they recommend that even though drivers of passenger vans are not required to have a Commercial Driver’s License, “only experienced drivers familiar with their handling should operate [them].”
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