U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
|Tuesday, June 1, 2004 |
|News Media Contact: Rae Tyson, 202-366-9550 |
Consumer Contact: 1-888-327-4236
Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D., Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), today reissued a cautionary warning to users of 15-passenger vans because of an increased rollover risk under certain conditions. Similar warnings were issued in 2001 and 2002.
The agency also issued an updated consumer hangtag for 15-passenger van users. A copy of the hangtag can be downloaded from the NHTSA website: www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/studies/15PassVans/ROLLOVER_HANGTAG_LaserRes.pdf
NHTSA research conducted in 2001 and 2004 has shown that 15-passenger vans have a rollover risk that is similar to other light trucks and vans when carrying a few passengers. However, the risk of rollover increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases to full capacity.
Because of these risks, it is important that 15-passenger vans be operated by trained, experienced drivers. It also is vitally important that institutions using 15-passenger vans require safety belt use at all times.
A new NHTSA analysis reinforces the value of safety belts. Seventy-six percent of those who died nationwide in single vehicle 15-passenger van crashes from 1990 to 2002 were not buckled up. The odds of being killed in a single vehicle crash involving a 15-passenger van increases three-fold if the occupant is not wearing a safety belt.
NHTSA is reissuing this advisory to specifically alert summertime users of 15-passenger vans. Last summer, there were several tragic rollover crashes involving groups on trips.
While federal law prohibits the sale of 15-passenger vans for the school-related transport of high school age and younger students, no such prohibition exists for vehicles to transport college students or other passengers.
A copy of the three new NHTSA research reports on 15-passenger vans along with other, related information can be found at: www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/studies/15PassVans/15PassCustomerAdvisory.htm.