Today, we continue our discussion on 15 passenger vans. These vans cannot offer the same level of safety as a school bus that is held to federal safety standards. Vans were designed to haul cargo. It was an afterthought to add seats to transport people. There is no side impact safety protection and the vans tip and roll more easily as passengers climb aboard, shifting the center of gravity to the rear of the van. This is amplified as the passengers bring aboard their personal belongings. Passenger vans have been found tobe three times more likely to rollover in an attempt to avoid an accident. Also, it has been found that there are many injuries and deaths due to ejection from the vans in an accident.
Sadly, since 1990, more than 400 people have lost their lives in van rollovers and hundreds more have been seriously injured.
These 15 passenger vans have become the most preferred vehicle of church and school use, yet many people do not understand that these vans do not pass the same government safety tests as a school bus. Your insurance company may insure the van with limitations, but you are taking the risk that an accident could result in a lawsuit that will have NO limitations.
Check with your state transportation agency to make sure your vehicle is in compliance. Next week we will talk about how to tell if your vehicle, or one that you at looking to purchase, is certified as a “school” bus.