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With the high cost of gas these days, you may be tempted to carpool to work in costa mesa in a vanpool. Morning commutes on California freeways are filled with this cost-saving option, but it is important to note that when these 15 passenger type of vans are not driven properly, there is a greater chance of serious personal injury especially on the freeways surrounding and in Costa Mesa. In a fully loaded 15 passenger van, you have a 70% chance of a rollover!

New research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, has found that during the months of June through August to be the deadliest time of the year for 15-passenger vans. These vans are typically used by church youth groups, senior homes, YMCA’s and hotels. Since their use is so widespread, the NHTSA has issued new safety warnings during the busy summer travel season.

These vans are quite popular for several reasons; one important factor is that the driver doesn’t need a commercial license. Although it is still illegal to transport elementary and high school students, most community organizations find the van size convenient and more fuel-efficient than regular school buses.

Fifteen-passenger vans are more likely to be involved in a single-vehicle rollover crash than any other type of vehicle. The good news is that consumer alerts and educational efforts are apparently working to help reduce fatalities in these types of rollover crashes. The proof is in the numbers: The percent of 15-passenger van occupant fatalities that occur as a result of rollover crashes is down from a high of 81% in 2000 to 45% in 2006.

Although by far the main cause of rollovers is a fully loaded van, factors such as improperly inflated tires, poor tire condition, and inexperienced van drivers also contribute to the instability of this type of van.

The following precautions are recommended if you drive a van or if you ride in one on a regular basis:
· Keep your passenger load light. NHTSA research has shown that 15-passenger vans have a rollover risk that increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases from fewer than five to more than ten. In fact, 15-passenger vans (with 10 or more occupants) had a rollover rate in single vehicle crashes that is nearly three times the rate of those that were lightly loaded.

· Check your van’s tire pressure frequently – at least once a week. A just-released NHTSA study found that 74 percent of all 15-passenger vans had improperly inflated tires. By contrast, 39 percent of passenger cars had improperly inflated tires. Improperly inflated tires can change handling characteristics, increasing the prospect of a rollover crash in 15-passenger vans.

· Require all occupants to use their seat belts or the appropriate child restraint. Nearly 80% of those who have died nationwide in 15-passenger vans were not buckled up. Wearing seat belts dramatically increases the chances of survival during a rollover crash
· If at all possible, seat passengers & place cargo forward of the rear axle – and avoid placing any loads on the roof. By following these guidelines, you’ll lower the vehicle’s center of gravity and lower the chance of a rollover crash.

· Be mindful of speed and road conditions. The analysis of 15-passenger van crashes also shows that the risk of rollover increases significantly at speeds over 50 miles per hour and on curved roads.

If you have been injured in a 15 passenger van or in fact, any type of personal injury, don’t hesitate to contact a professional personal injury attorney as soon as it is practical. Contact Us anytime (949) 752-7474