Tuesday, January 12

Safety with Oversized Church Vans

Witnesses told police that the driver swerved off the road to the left shoulder, lost control in the snow, began to slide sideways, and then flipped into a ditch on the right side of the road.

This church has experienced its second major tragedy within six months. After a fire gutted their church facility the youth group was involved in a serious accident involving their church van. 

This is a good reminder to review some of the safety information related to large size vans! 

According to a report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration posted by South Eastern Oklahoma State University the below facts apply to oversized vans:

~ 15-passenger vans have a increased rollover risk under certain conditions

~ The risk of rollover increases dramatically as the number of occupant’s increases from fewer than five occupants to over ten passengers.

~ 15-passenger vans (with 10 or more occupants) had a rollover rate in single vehicle crashes that is nearly 3 x the rate of those that were lightly loaded.

~ Loading 15-passenger vans causes the center of gravity to shift rearward and upward increasing the likelihood of rollover. Shift in the center of gravity will also increase the potential for loss of control in panic maneuvers.

~ It is important that the van be operated by experienced drivers, they should understand and be familiar with the handling characteristics of their vans, especially when fully loaded.

~ Institutions using 15-passenger vans should require seat belt use at all times.

~ Any load placed on the roof will be above the center of gravity of the vehicle and will increase the likelihood of rolling over.

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