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June 1, 2004
"Safety warning issued to drivers of 15-passenger vans"
A warning issued in 2001 and 2002 has been re-issued to all users of 15-passenger vans due to increased rollover risk in certain conditions. The warning states that rollover risk increases up to five times when the van is filled to capacity. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) also warns that rollover risk is greater when traveling at speeds higher than 50 MPH.
The warning aims to alert people who plan to use these high-capacity vehicles on summer group trips. NHTSA statistics show that 1,576 15-passenger vans were involved in fatal crashes between 1990 and 2002; roughly one-third of these were single vehicle accidents.
The NHTSA recommends that all 15-passenger vans be driven by a trained, experienced driver; that all passengers wear safety belts at all times; that cargo and passengers be forward of the rear axle, if possible; and that the tires be checked for wear and tear at least once per month.
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