Archive for the ‘15-Passenger Van Accidents’ Category

Truck Transporting 25 Occupants Crashes – 13 Dead in Single Vehicle Crash

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

A fatal pickup truck accident in Texas this weekend may be the most deadly single vehicle accident in history.  The pickup truck was transporting 25 people – ten squeezed into the cab of the pickup and 15 in the bed of the truck when it crashed into two trees.  An officer who investigated the F-250 truck crash has been an officer for 38 years and indicated that he had never seen a comparable motor vehicle accident with so many people piled into a single vehicle.  Thirteen of the vehicle occupants died in the collision while the rest of the vehicle occupants suffered injury.  According to media reports, law enforcement officers speculate that the pickup was transporting illegal immigrants, which is why so many people were crammed into the pickup truck.

This terrible tragedy serves as a grim reminder that the many safety features of a motor vehicle are meaningless in a collision if vehicle occupants decline to utilize them.  It is never advisable to pack more vehicle occupants into a car, truck or SUV than can be accommodated by vehicle seatbelts.  Seatbelts are 56 percent effective in preventing fatalities in collisions involving passenger cars.  They are even more effective in preventing fatal injury in vehicle collisions involving other types of vehicles like pickup trucks, vans and SUVs.

Seatbelt use also substantially reduces the risk of serious debilitating injuries by 53 percent.  Seatbelts keep vehicle occupants inside a motor vehicle during a collision where they can take advantage of the protective shell of the vehicle.  In addition to preventing vehicle ejections, seatbelts also reduce the risk of head trauma suffered when one’s head impacts a steering wheel, dashboard or other hard surface inside the vehicle.  Airbags also provide protection from blunt trauma impact and penetration from objects during a collision.

While this safety equipment provides protection from serious injury and wrongful death during a motor vehicle collision, these safety features are meaningless when a vehicle is overloaded beyond the capacity of safety equipment to protect vehicle occupants.  Riding in the back of a pickup truck is particularly dangerous because it is especially easy to be catapulted away from the vehicle and slam against the hard surface of the roadway.  The truck bed also provides no structural protection from the impact of a serious crash.  Although sitting in the bed of a truck can be fun and appealing to kids, you should never allow children to ride in the bed of a pickup even for a short distance or at low speeds on residential streets.

When motor vehicles are overloaded with passengers, the available safety options for vehicle occupants are reduced considerably.  The risk of catastrophic injury and wrongful death is always present when traveling in a motor vehicle, the danger increases exponentially when vehicle occupants overload a vehicle and ignore safety equipment. The experienced Mississippi motor vehicle accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective legal representation to Mississippi auto accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide careful investigation, thorough analysis of the law and facts and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.


Understanding the Unique Dangers Posed by 15-Passenger Vans

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

While they often transport children to youth activities like church camp or boy scout outings, 15-passenger vans are extremely hazardous vehicles.  These vehicles were never intended to transport large groups of people like a mini-bus but were solely developed to function as a cargo vehicle.  Because 15-passenger vans are not used as intended, they pose a substantial risk of being involved in a rollover collision, especially when fully loaded with passengers.  Rollover accidents are among the most deadly types of vehicle crashes because vehicle occupants are often ejected from the vehicle where they have no protection from injury.

Despite the fact that there are still many 15-passenger vans on Mississippi roadways, the danger they pose to vehicle occupants is well-established.    Many schools no longer permit 15-passenger vans to be used for transporting students, and a growing number of insurance companies refuse to provide coverage for these vehicles.  Although the vans have similarities to other vans, they are longer so there is more seating capacity.  When these vans were extended to add more seating, the vehicle manufacturers never redesigned the vans to make them safe for the purpose of transporting large numbers of vehicle occupants.

Ironically, the very characteristics that 15-passenger vans were intended to provide also play a substantial role in their propensity to rollover.  The vehicles are most dangerous when loaded with more than ten passengers.  The vehicles do not have a wide enough wheel base and are top heavy.  This tendency to be top heavy is magnified when the vehicle is more heavily loaded down with passengers.  Passenger vans share many of the characteristics of SUVs, which are also prone to rollover accidents.  However, 15-passenger vans have an additional feature that makes them prone to rollover crashes.  When the vehicle is full loaded, four passengers sit behind the rear axle.  This means that when the driver of a 15-passenger van must veer sharply to avoid a collision the back of the vehicle is heavy and tends to swing around leaving the vehicle exposed to rollover crashes.

15-passenger vans are hazardous because of this tendency to be top heavy and back heavy.  This danger is more significant because many passenger vans do not have seatbelts installed for all passengers.  A seatbelt is never more urgent than when a vehicle is involved in a rollover accident because there is a high risk of a vehicle ejection.  The importance of seatbelts in 15-passenger vans is reflected by the fact that less than 15 percent of all passenger van fatalities involved occupants that were wearing seatbelts.  If you are injured in an accident involving a 15-passenger van in Mississippi, there are a number of parties that may be responsible including:

  • Other negligent motorists
  • Inexperienced passenger van drivers
  • Manufacturers of these defective vehicles
  • Owners that fail to check for proper tire pressure or old tires

If you or someone you love is injured in a collision involving a 15-passenger van, our experienced 15-passenger van accident attorneys at Barrett Law understand the unique design characteristics that make these vehicles particularly dangerous to occupants.  At Barrett Law, our experienced Mississippi personal injury lawyers represent injury victims throughout Mississippi.  Our law firm has roots that reach back 75 years so contact us today for your free initial consultation at (662) 834-2376 to see how we can help.


Understanding the Danger of Mississippi 15-Passenger Van Rollovers

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Most children have been transported in a 15-passenger van to church youth group outings, youth club events, sporting events and other activities.  Parents who send their children on outings in these vehicles often are blissfully unaware of the enormous danger.  A 15-passenger van is particularly vulnerable to rollover accidents.  These vehicles were originally designed to transport cargo.  The design of the vehicles was not appropriately modified to safely transport large numbers of vehicle occupants.  15-passenger vans combine a high center of gravity with unsafe weight distribution when loaded with passengers to make them especially likely to rollover in a motor vehicle collision.

These vehicles are similar to other vans except that they are longer so that more occupants can be transported.  These 15-passenger vans are designed with a high center of gravity and narrow wheelbase.  While most people presume that these vehicles are designed to carry a large number of passengers, the reality is that 15-passenger vans are much more prone to rollover when carrying more vehicle occupants.  The vehicles typically sit 4 passengers behind the rear axle when fully loaded, but this creates more weight behind the rear axle.  This makes the vehicle not only top heavy but also back end heavy so that when a van must swerve to suddenly avoid an obstacle the back end of the vehicle will swing around toward the front of the vehicle.  15-passenger vans are so prone to rollover accidents that 85 percent of the time they rollover in accidents when loaded with 10 or more passengers.

These motor vehicles also may lack seatbelts, which makes rollover accidents especially dangerous.  If a vehicle occupant is involved in a rollover accident without a seatbelt, there is a high risk of suffering serious injury when being slammed against the interior of the vehicle or suffering vehicle ejection.  If you child is traveling in a 15-passenger van, you should warn your child that seatbelt use is absolutely required.   It is important to be aware that less than 15 percent of fatal accidents with one of these vehicles involved occupants wearing seatbelts.

While manufacturing defects may contribute to collisions involving 15-passenger vans, there are other factors that also contribute to the danger associated with these vehicles.  The weight distribution in such a vehicle means that it reacts differently than an ordinary passenger vehicle so only professional drivers should operate 15-passenger vans.  Many times youth organizations permit these vehicles to be driven by coaches, counselors, parents or other inexperienced drivers.  Tire pressure or worn out tires are also dangerous so the tires on a 15-passenger van should be checked prior to a trip.

If you are injured in a 15-passenger van in Mississippi, you may have a right to seek financial compensation against any responsible parties.  This may include the vehicle manufacturer, vehicle owner, inexperienced driver, organization arranging the transportation or other vehicle drivers.  If you or your loved one suffer serious injury or wrongful death, we invite you to call contact us to learn how we can assist you in seeking compensation for your loss and injuries.  The experienced Mississippi 15-passenger van accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing tenacious representation to victims of motor vehicle accidents for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

15-Passenger Vans Pose Danger to Community Groups in Mississippi

Friday, June 17th, 2011

There are about 500,000 15-passenger vans that are used on our roads in the United States.  These types of vans are used by shuttle van services, hotels, churches, school groups, and other organizations.  Unfortunately, there has been an increase in rollover accidents in recent years associated with these types of vans resulting in serious injury and even wrongful death.

The Dangers of the Design

These vans are susceptible to rollovers due to their lengthened design and the fact that they are inherently top heavy and unstable. With most 15-passenger vans, the back end was merely extended to provide for more seating room, however, the rear axle of the van remained in the same position. This results in seating for 4 people behind the rear axle of the van.  If the van swerves, then the van has a tendency to swing around in the back because of the extra weight behind the axle.

These vans have a high center of gravity and when fully loaded with passengers they become super top heavy. When the increase in weight in the back seating area is combined with the heavy top weight of the vehicle, it makes the 15-passenger van more likely to tip over. The vehicle also becomes very difficult to control in any sort of emergency situation.

When 10 or more people ride in a 15-passenger van, the risk of a rollover crash increases greatly according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Additionally, many 15-passenger van accident victims are injured or killed due to the fact that they do not have their seat belts on when one of these vans rolls over.  It is recommended that organizations that insist on using these vans confirm that enough functioning seat belts are present and urge their passengers to wear a seat belt.

Poor maintenance and driving inexperience can also contribute to Mississippi 15-passenger van accidents.  The high rollover risk makes it imperative that tires not be allowed to become worn or old and that tire pressure be maintained.  Old tires or tires with improper air pressure may lead to a tire blowout which can start a dangerous rollover accident.  These vans also do not handle like an ordinary passenger vehicle because of their extended length and weight distribution so organizations should use an experienced driver to reduce the risk of rollover accidents.

These vans are not that safe for group travel, and there are other vehicles like mini vans and small school buses that are safer to use for the transport of large groups.  If you or a loved one have suffered a serious injury or has been killed in a 15 passenger van accident, contact our personal injury attorneys at the Mississippi law office of Barrett Law PLLC.  Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge of the design defects associated with these vans to effectively represent Mississippi 15 passenger van accident victims. We offer a free case evaluation so call us today at (662) 834-2376 so that we can explain your rights and options.