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Large Passenger Van Accidents

Large vehicles can often be difficult to maneuver, especially when they are inherently dangerous by design

Long 15-passenger vans have a propensity for rolling over and provide little protection to passengers in the event of an accident.

There are a number of characteristics of these vehicles that make them unsafe for both the driver and passengers. According to the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vans with a seating capacity of up to 15 individuals were involved in 1,576 fatal crashes from 1990 to 2002, with 1,111 fatalities resulting from those accidents.

Of the total number of crashes, 349 specifically involved vans that rolled over due to their high center of gravity. Rollovers can occur when the driver takes a corner too quickly, or changes lanes suddenly causing the weight at the top of the vehicle to overpower the stability at the wheel base.

High-capacity vans are taller in comparison to smaller models, and thus less stable at the wheelbase. Factor in shifting passenger and/or cargo weight, and you have a vehicle that is likely to rollover in the event of even a minor accident.

Passenger Van Accident Lawyers serving in Olympia, Spokane, and Kirkland

Many larger passenger vans either do not have seat belts, or the passengers inside fail to use them. Often these vehicles are used after the fashion of school buses, and the occupants assume seat belts are not a requirement.

Sadly, the NHTSA reports that “only 14 percent of the fatally injured occupants were properly restrained” in passenger van accidents that occurred from 1990 to 2002.

Many schools and other organizations that are centered around child care, such as summer camps, choose to utilize these vans rather than passenger cars. The drivers are not technically required to hold a different class of license or to pass any sort of official driving test. Often, the operators are inexperienced in maneuvering a vehicle of such length, which adds to the potential of an accident occurring.

Van manufacturers have a responsibility to improve vehicle design to ensure safe operation and to maximize the chances that passengers will survive a crash. Organizations that rely on van transport are responsible for retaining experienced drivers conversant with the vehicles and their limitations.

In the event of an accident involving a high-capacity passenger van in the Seattle area, the attorneys at the Bernard Law Group will expose the negligence that caused your accident, regardless of the source of that negligence.

Call us today for a free evaluation of your case, and our knowledgeable attorneys will review the details to protect your rights and to recover any compensation to which you are entitled for hospital bills, physical therapy costs, or even lost wages.

If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in the Tacoma area in an automotive accident involving a van or similar vehicle, please contact us for a free consultation.


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