May 27, 2005

Safety organization re-states rollover warning for 15-passenger vans

Washington, D.C. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced new research that reinforces its existing concerns about 15-passenger vans. As a result, it issued its consumer advisory for the third time in the past four years.

In a new research report related to improper tire maintenance on 15-passenger vans, the NHTSA study found that 74 per cent of all 15-passenger vans had significantly mis-inflated tires. By contrast, 39 per cent of passenger cars were found with significant inflation problems. NHTSA research has consistently shown that improperly inflated tires can change handling characteristics, increasing the prospect of a rollover crash in 15-passenger vans.

Prior NHTSA research has shown that 15-passenger vans have a rollover risk that increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases from fewer than five to more than ten. With ten or more occupants, the vans had a rollover rate in single-vehicle crashes nearly three times the rate of those with five or fewer occupants.

The NHTSA recommends that all occupants wear safety belts, drivers be trained and experienced, tires be checked at least once a week, and no loads be placed on the roof of the vehicle.

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