Washington, D.C. – The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging drivers and users of 15-passenger vans to take appropriate safety precautions during the busy travel season. New research from NHTSA shows that June through August is the deadliest time of year for occupants of these vehicles, due to rollover crashes.

Statistics show that 31 per cent of fatal rollovers involving 15-passenger vans occur during the busy summer travel months. The data shows a significant increase in rollover risk when the van is fully loaded with driver and passengers; in 2006, 50 per cent of occupant fatalities that occurred were in vans that were fully loaded. Of those, 59 per cent were unbelted.

Other factors contributing to rollover incidents include improperly-inflated tires, tires in poor condition, and inexperienced drivers. Overall statistics show that the number of deaths in 15-passenger van rollover crashes has been steadily declining since 2001, but the vehicles still pose a safety risk to occupants, claiming the lives of 58 people in crashes in the U.S. in 2006.

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