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Church Van Rollover Reported on Rondo Road in Texarkana Arkansas – the Problems with 15-Passenger Vans

15-passenger vans, also sometimes referred to as commercial vans, are a convenient mode of transportation for mid-sized groups. Churches, sports teams, senior citizens groups, and many other organizations frequently make use of these vehicles. While these vans are marketed as a safe method of travel, the simple fact is that these vans may be significantly more likely to be involved in a serious accident than other passenger vehicles. In particular, these vehicles may present a serious rollover accident risk.  

Despite a U.S. federal government ban regarding their use to transport school-aged children, 15-passenger vans are extremely common and frequently on the roadways. Some sources estimate that there are more than 500,000 commercial passenger-carrying vans in use and on U.S. roads and highways. Consider the fact that since 1990, there have been at least 400 reported fatalities in single-vehicle rollover accidents.

Church van Rollover Accident in Arkansas is the Latest in a Long Line of Commercial Van Incidents

On April 11, 2016, emergency personnel including police and firefighters responded to a reported single-vehicle accident involving a church van. It is unclear what factors or events caused the accident, but the van was found on Rondo Rd. at Boyd Rd. in Texarkana on Monday afternoon. Apparently some factor caused the van to leave the roadway. After leaving the roadway, the van careened and rolled into a deep ditch.

In this case, there thankfully appears to be few to no major injuries. While there were three children in the van at the time of the rollover accident, only one child suffered injuries serious enough to warrant medical treatment. The child was transported to a local medical facility with non-life-threatening injuries. However, the situation could have been much worse. Rollover accidents can frequently cause brain injuries along with neck and spinal injuries.

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Rollover Risk Increases in 15-Passenger Vans as the Number of Passengers Increase

Many people would not expect the accident and injury risk to increase as you loaded a 15-person van. After all, these vehicles are advertised and supposedly designed to have a significant passenger-carrying capacity. However, the truth of the matter is that design defects actually increase the rollover risk as the van becomes more heavily loaded.

As a 15-passenger van’s number of occupants increases, the weight the vehicle is hauling predictably increases. However, as the weight being carried by the vehicle increases, the vehicle’s center-of-gravity shifts further to the rear of the vehicle. This shift in the vehicle’s center-of-gravity increases the odds of a loss of vehicle control and a rollover crash.

However, this is not the only problem with a fully loaded 15-passenger van. The fully loaded van exerts significantly more pressure on the vehicle’s tires. This increase in pressure can lead to a tire blow-out if the tires have been over inflated. Further complicating matters is the fact that the proper inflation PSI differs from the front and rear tires of these vehicles. A well-meaning driver for a church or sports team may not realize that the required PSI levels differ. In fact, since no certification or level of experience is required to drive a 15-passenger van, this type of scenario is highly foreseeable.

Simply put, the risk presented by a 15-passenger van is largely due to the vehicle itself. While another vehicle is not required to cause a rollover accident, evasive action taken to avoid another vehicle by the van can only increase the odds of the rollover.

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Injured in a 15-Passenger Van Wreck?

Unfortunately, we are now entering into peak time for 15-person van accidents. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that at least 31-percent of all fatal accidents occur during the summer months. However, you can reduce your risk of suffering a fatal injury if you ride in a 15-passenger van since 83 percent of people killed in these accidents were not wearing seatbelts. Furthermore, refraining from carrying more than 10 passengers or excessive amounts of cargo can also reduce the risk of a crash and subsequent rollover accident.

If you’ve been injured in a commercial van accident, the truck accident attorneys of Reiff & Bily’s the Truck Accident Team may be able to fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation call our firm at 800-896-6173 today.


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