Vans that carry 15 passengers are commonly used for excursions by religious organizations, youth groups, senior groups and those attending camps. Summer brings increased use of these vehicles
Van maintenance, including tire maintenance, is very important for the safety of those riding in them. An accident can result in multiple injuries.
Tire safety is important all year long. However, summer brings increased heat, which can cause the air inside tires to expand. This can potentially result in a blowout.
Owners and drivers of these vans need to regularly ensure that the tires are properly inflated, that they have the appropriate pressure and that they are not damaged or worn. It's also essential that the vehicle has the proper size tires and the correct load rating.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 65 people on average were killed in this size vehicle in the years 2004 to 2013. Over half of those deaths occurred in rollover crashes. Vans are more likely to roll over when tires are not inflated properly,
Beyond tire maintenance, it's essential to ensure that the van isn't carrying more weight than it's intended to and that the entire vehicle receives proper maintenance on a regular basis.
If an accident occurs in a 15-passenger van, a thorough investigation should take place. Obviously, driver error or poor maintenance could be a possibility. However, so could problems, either with the vehicle or the tires, which can be traced to the manufacturer. With all of the vehicles recalls that we've seen over the past year due to defects of things like airbags and ignition switches, all potential defects should be considered.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "NHTSA urges 15-passenger van users to always check tires before driving," May 28, 2015