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NHTSA: Rollover Warning to Users of 15-Passenger Vans- Includes Video

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today re-issued a 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 safety agency also unveiled an updated consumer hangtag for users of 15-passenger vans and released three related research reports. One of the reports is a detailed analysis of 15-passenger van crashes between 1990 and 2002.

The newly released NHTSA research reinforces the fact that 15-passenger vans have a rollover risk that increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases to full capacity. In fact, the likelihood of a rollover when a van is fully loaded is about five times greater than when the vehicle contains only a driver. While an increased likelihood of rollover is present for other types of fully loaded passenger vehicles, it is most pronounced for 15-passenger vans.

The new NHTSA analysis also showed that the risk of rollover increased significantly at speeds over 50 miles per hour and on curved roads.

NHTSA is re-issuing this advisory to specifically alert those who plan to use the vans this summer for group road trips.

"It is vitally important that users of 15-passenger vans be aware of these risks," said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D. "It is critical that users follow safety precautions to significantly reduce those risks."

Among the safety recommendations are the following:

It is important that 15-passenger vans be operated by trained, experienced drivers. Insist that all occupants wear safety belts at all times. In fact, 76 percent of those who died in 15-passenger van rollovers nationwide in single vehicle crashes from 1990 to 2002 were not buckled up. An unrestrained 15-passenger van occupant involved in a single vehicle crash is about three times as likely to be killed as a restrained occupant. If possible, have passengers and cargo forward of the rear axle and avoid placing any loads on the roof. Check your tires: Excessively worn or improperly inflated tires can lead to a loss-of-control situation and a rollover. At least once a month, check that the vans tires are properly inflated and the tread is not worn down.

According to NHTSA research, between 1990 and 2002, there were 1,576 15-passenger vans involved in fatal crashes. Of these, 349 were single vehicle rollover crashes.

In separate research reports involving 15-passenger vans, NHTSA also examined the effects of tire pressure on rollover resistance and assessed the viability of electronic stability control (ESC) systems. The study, using a 2003 Ford F-350 and a 2004 GMC Savana, found that ESC could have some safety benefits under certain conditions.

Full Article & Videos Here



Ming, I know you love those vans, be careful out there.
 

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Even the stability control off the GM does better than the ford... Saweet. These are the bigguns versions of these vans if I understand correctly.
 

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Every "roll over" article I read had a Ford or Dodge in it. They should step up and get a stability program. Well Ford that is.
 

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ESC isn't going to help enough. 15-passenger vans are just too damned big and have too high a center of gravity for them to really be stable under every condition. I think the key is to redesign them from the ground up to have a much lower center of gravity, though I don't know how that would happen. They're just plain not safe.
 

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None of the SUVs got only a two-star rating, indicating a rollover risk of between 30 and 40 percent. In the previous ranking the 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac 4x2 got only a two-star rating. It also had tipped up on two wheels.

This is from a story on CNN about testing of vehicles that came out today. What does "got only a two-star rating" mean? Can they get more than one rating?
 

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stability control, lower center of gravity, and a wider wheel base are fine. but how's about we try buckling up first?!? the article says an unrestrained person is 3 times as likely to get killed in a single-vehicle 15-pass van crash than a belted one. and 76% of those killed in 15-pass van rollovers were unbelted. man it frustrates me how careless people are.

i've read other articles that state that these vans are often overloaded (with people and cargo). once again, smarten up! follow the guidelines set out by the manufacturer... they know the vehicle best! now apparently some insurance companies won't insure 15-passanger vans because they're 'unsafe'. so instead we'll have 3 sedans carrying 5 people each where we woulda had one van. adds traffic and pollution and wear and tear on two extra vehicles. all because people can't buckle up and learn their vehicle limits.

and yes, i know these rigs are inherently less stable than a lower, smaller vehicle. but dddddamn... use them right and the problems are minimised!
 

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Originally posted by paul8488@Jun 8 2004, 09:47 AM
stability control, lower center of gravity, and a wider wheel base are fine. but how's about we try buckling up first?!? the article says an unrestrained person is 3 times as likely to get killed in a single-vehicle 15-pass van crash than a belted one. and 76% of those killed in 15-pass van rollovers were unbelted. man it frustrates me how careless people are.

i've read other articles that state that these vans are often overloaded (with people and cargo). once again, smarten up! follow the guidelines set out by the manufacturer... they know the vehicle best! now apparently some insurance companies won't insure 15-passanger vans because they're 'unsafe'. so instead we'll have 3 sedans carrying 5 people each where we woulda had one van. adds traffic and pollution and wear and tear on two extra vehicles. all because people can't buckle up and learn their vehicle limits.

and yes, i know these rigs are inherently less stable than a lower, smaller vehicle. but dddddamn... use them right and the problems are minimised!
Exactly! If they would just follow the guidelines and use a little common sense, none of this would come up. Add to this the fact that a lot of the drivers of these things are hopping out of their Tauruses in the church parking lot and getting behind the wheel of a large van that they have NO experience driving, and unfortunately taking 10 or more passengers with them, then we scream at the manufacturers when they blow an underinflated tire or take an off-ramp way too fast.

Make the vans wider, then everyone will scream about how hard they are to manuever. Other than making them front-wheel-drive, I'm not sure that you could make them much lower and still maintain a flat floor.
 
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