A Safety Guide to 15-Passenger Vans

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    Vans designed to hold ten or more occupants, including the driver, are known as full-size vans. They are a common sight on California roads, as they are convenient for daycare transportation, taking senior citizens to events, getting a team of athletes to practice or competition, carpooling with several other employees to work, or getting a group of teens to a youth program. Even though these larger vehicles are in high demand, when 15-passenger drivers are inexperienced or drive negligently, they create a safety risk for the drivers themselves, occupants of the van, and anyone unlucky enough to be in the vicinity.

    To keep everyone safe, all van occupants should wear seatbelts at all times while the van is in motion. People who drive 15-passenger vans should be trained and experienced. Air pressure in the tires should be checked a minimum of once a week. If they are low, they should be filled to the manufacturer’s specifications. No loads should be stored on the roof of the van.

    Adhere to Theses Safety Precautions for Large Capacity Vans

    Drivers need to know that large-capacity vans may look similar to minivans, but they do not drive like a minivan. Caution must be used by drivers and their passengers to keep the risks of large vans to a minimum.

    Individuals who drive 15-passenger vans should heed the following safety advice:

    • Experience: A 15-passenger van drives differently than other vehicles, especially when it is completely full. Drivers should be experienced and licensed. Ideally, if you drive a 15-passenger van, you should have a commercial driver’s license.  
    • Attention: Your focus on the road and safe driving will go a long way to keep everyone safe. Don’t drive more than eight hours in a 24-hour period, and be sure you are well-rested. Avoid distractions like using a handheld phone or conversing with passengers in the van.
    • Speed: Never go over the posted speed limit. Keep in mind that you will need to reduce your speed according to weather and road conditions. A 15-passenger van will be more difficult and time-consuming to maneuver. You should remember that your van will need additional braking time.
    • Seat Belts: The driver and all passengers should wear seatbelts at all times. The seatbelts should be inspected on a regular basis. If they are missing pieces or are broken, they should be replaced immediately. Never drive or ride in a large van without a seatbelt, as an unrestrained occupant is four times as likely to be killed than a restrained occupant in a single-vehicle accident.
    • Tire Pressure: Before each trip, the van’s tires should be checked to ensure the appropriate air pressure levels and tread. All tires, including the spare tire, should be properly inflated and have good tread. If tires are lacking tread or air, the loss of vehicle control is more likely, which can lead to a serious rollover accident. The suggested tire pressure and tire size, according to your vehicle’s manufacturer, can usually be found on the driver’s side pillar or the owner’s manual. Take note that the required air pressure can differ between the front and the back tires. 
    • Spares: Tires weaken as they age, even ones that are not used. If your 15-passenger van has an older spare tire, it should be replaced. You can determine the age by locating the Tire Identification Number (TIN) on the sidewall of the tire. The last four digits of the number represent the week and year of manufacture. For example, if the last four digits are 0119, the tire was made in January of 2019. 
    • Occupancy: The van should never carry more people than it was designed to. The seats should be filled from front to back. If the van is not full, the passengers should sit in the seats in front of the rear axle.
    • Cargo: Do not overload your van or place cargo on the roof. Store the cargo in front of the rear axle. Adhere to the maximum weight of passengers and cargo as well as the van’s towing capability, which can be found in the owner’s manual. 
    • Size: A 15-passenger van is much longer and wider than most cars and trucks on the road. It needs more space to maneuver. When changing lanes, rely heavily on the side-view mirrors. 
    • Reduce the Risk of a Rollover: Rollovers are more likely to occur when items are placed on top of large vans or tow trailers. Overloading a 15-passenger van with passengers or cargo will also increase the risk. To decrease the risk of a rollover, passengers should be seated evenly from side to side and sit near the front of the vehicle. This helps the vehicle to have more balance.
    • Passenger Loading/Unloading: When your passengers are getting on and off of the van, use good judgment. Pick up and drop off should be done in a way that does not require the passengers to cross traffic. Passengers should also stay away from the front and rear of the van.

    Documented Certified Training Required for Public Employees

    Since January 1, 2007, the Board of Occupational Safety and Health requires documented certified training for all public employees who drive full-size vans. The certification must include a hands-on exercise time. Refresher training needs to be completed at least once every three years.

    Utilize Driver Assistance Technologies

    Driver assistance technologies equip drivers and vehicles to save lives. In fact, 94 percent of fatal crashes involving human error can be eliminated with these new technologies, including electronic stability control, forward collision warning, and lane assist.  Rollover is no longer a danger for more modern 15-passenger vans because of electronic stability control. Several other driver assistance technologies can help keep you and your passengers safe in a van.

    Hurt in a Passenger Van Accident? Call an Experienced California Injury Lawyer

    Contact Arash Law today by phone (888) 488-1391 or online to receive your free case consultation with an experienced California van accident lawyer from our firm. We have over two decades of experience serving injury victims in San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California.  Our dedicated lawyers have recovered over 200 million dollars for our clients.

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    DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

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