15-Passenger Vans in the News

by Jordan Clary on January 7, 2009

In spite of their poor safety records, 15 passenger vans continue to be used to transport groups of fifteen or fewer passengers. As the economy worsens, the incentives for fixing these dangerous vehicles may lessen. Modifications can be expensive and buying a newer van that is up-to-date on its safety recommendations may be out of the question for some charity and non-profit organizations whose resources are already stretched thin. Therefore, it is more likely that they will turn to an older model, one that may not be up to code.

Fifteen-passenger vans are part of the culture, which means rollovers and fatalities will continue to happen. The following are just a few recent news items concerning them:

  • December, 2008: An inquest is called for seven New Brunswick students and a teacher who were killed when their 15 passenger van overturned on an icy highway as they drove back from a basketball game.
  • Beckley, West Virginia passes a mandate requiring that day care centers that transport large numbers of children must use vehicles that meet the same safety standards as school buses. This mandate goes into effect Sept. 1, 2012. Until then, many of these day care centers will continue to use their old 15-passenger vans.
  • A Richland County, Ohio Veterans Services office buys a new 15-passenger van to “safely transport its vets to the VA hospital in Cleveland.”
  • The survivors of an April 29, 2007 Omaha, Nebraska crash where 17 choir members and 2 adults amazingly survived an overloaded 15-passenger van rollover held a special Christmas mass in thanksgiving. 
  • Richmond County, North Carolina: The Richmond County Humane Society receives a $10,000 grant. Part of it will be used to purchase a 15-passenger van to be used for transporting between 2 and 35 dogs and/or cats.
  • Chilliwack, BC:  Charges are laid against Ranjit Gill and his wife, Harwinderpal Kaur Gill, owners of RHA Enterprises in connection with an overloaded 15 passenger van rollover that killed four farmworkers and injured others on their way to work in Chilliwack, B.C. in March 2007. The van, equipped with only two seat belts, went out of control on a rural road and flipped. Mr. and Mrs. Gill both face four charges under the Motor Vehicle Act.

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