15 passenger vans are a type of van that can seat up to 15 people. They are generally longer than a standard passenger van, and are typically painted white. They are frequently used by churches, amateur sports teams, music bands, and other groups for transportation purposes.
15 passenger vans (or “15-seaters”) are associated with high risks of accidents like rollovers, fishtailing, and skidding due their construction, and weight. Thus, roadway accidents can occur, especially under poor driving conditions or if a driver is being negligent.
What are the Risks with 15-Passenger Vans?
Over the years, the numbers of accidents linked to 15-passenger vans has caused concern over the safety of such vehicles. As mentioned, they are prone to roll-overs due to their construction. This is especially true of older vans not equipped with stability control, and whose rear wheel is placed more forward rather than towards the back of the van.
15-passenger vans become difficult to maneuver when driving through rain, snow, and when driving downhill. Swerving may cause the van to tip over, even at speeds lower than the highway limit.
What can be Done to Prevent Accidents?
15-seater vans were originally designed for transporting cargo, not passengers; so the design of such vehicles was intended to have more of the weight towards front of the vehicle. Thus, drivers should instruct passengers to fill the van from the front to back, and cargo should be placed in the middle of the van. This is to prevent the front wheels from coming off the ground during maneuvering.
Also, it is not recommended to place cargo on the top of the van during transport. Manufacturers have issued warnings regarding such vehicles, and most newer 15-seater vans come with warnings and instructions. However, manufacturer defects and design defects can still be a problem.
Is a Special Permit or License Needed to Drive a 15-Seater Van?
In most cases, there’s no legal requirement that the driver obtain a special type of license or permit to operate a 15 passenger van. This is also part of the danger- inexperienced drivers may not be accustomed to the handling of such a large vehicle. Thus, it’s recommended that only experienced drivers should handle a 15-seat van.
What if I’ve Been Injured in a Crash?
Of course, liability for a crash in a 15-seater vehicle can depend on many factors. A driver who is negligent may become liable for the injuries of the passengers (for instance, if they drove while knowingly intoxicated).
If you need to file a legal claim for your injuries, you should provide documentation of any relevant information that’s related to the crash. This can include traffic/police reports, insurance documents, hospital receipts, and rental documents (if the vehicle was a rental). Legal assistance may be needed when proving liability for the injuries.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a 15-Passenger Van Injury Lawsuit?
15-passenger vans are very unique vehicles that are associated with some specific risks. If you need help filing a claim for injuries, you may wish to hire a personal injury lawyer who practices in your area. Your attorney can assist you with your claim, and can represent you as needed during court procedures.