2Health & Safety Coordinator Anthony Salatino INTRODUCTIONMany people, when they hop into the driver’s seat of a 15-passenger van, expect to drive it just like they do their own car. Unfortunately, this belief puts them and their passengers at risk, because 15-passenger vans don’t handle like passenger cars. Driving 15-passenger vans requires certain safety precautions. Understanding why these types of vans need special care will get you and your passengers to your destination safely.Health & Safety Coordinator Anthony Salatino
3Health & Safety Coordinator Anthony Salatino CAUSE FOR CONCERNNumerous 15-passenger vans have been involved in fatal crashes, a fact which has raised many concerns about these vehicles.In California, a 15-passenger van carrying 14 young adults to a religious retreat rolled over, killing five passengers. They were only five minutes away from their destination.In Colorado, five firefighters were killed on the way to a forest fire when their 15-passenger van rolled.In Maine, a 15-passenger van full of forestry workers crashed and rolled over causing the deaths of 14 passengers.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found:Health & Safety Coordinator Anthony Salatino
4Health & Safety Coordinator Anthony Salatino …CONT.In a recent 12 year period, there were over 1,570 fatal crashes involving 15-passenger vans.These crashes accounted for over 1,100 passenger deaths.The rollover risk of 15-passenger vans dramatically increases as the number of passengers increases.Fifteen-passenger vans with ten or more occupants had a rollover rate in single-vehicle crashes nearly three times the rate as when they were lightly-loaded.A 15-passenger van rolling over when it is filled to the capacity is five times the odds of rollover when the driver is the only one in the van.Health & Safety Coordinator Anthony Salatino
5FACTORS AFFECTING CRASH AND INJURY RATES CENTER OF GRAVITYAs more people fill a 15-passenger van, the center of gravity moves upward and toward the rear of the van.This makes the van more likely to roll over.It also makes the van handle differently from most cars.These factors increase the chances that a driver will lose control of the van, especially when reacting to unforeseen circumstances, like being cut off by another vehicle.Health & Safety Coordinator Anthony Salatino
6SPEED and ROAD CHARACTERISTICS NHTSA found that the rate of a rollover increased significantly at speeds over 50 miles per hour and on curved roads.SAFETY BELTSStriking research shows that safety belt use among occupants of 15-passenger vans is very low compared to other types of vehicles. This increases the odds of fatalities occurring from a rollover.DRIVERS AGE vs. EXPERIENCEWhen it comes to crashes, the age of the driver was less of a factor than the amount of experience he or she had. A majority of highly publicized crashes involved inexperienced drivers. Many drivers operate 15-passenger vans infrequently and often don’t have formal training.
7COMMON CAUSES of ROLLOVER Rollover crashes can be deadly, so it’s important to know the common situations that cause the majority of 15-passenger van rollovers.RUNNING OFF THE ROADA 15-passenger van could roll over when it:Hits a ditch or embankmentRuns into soft soilIs tripped by running into or over a curb or similar object.A wheel drops off the pavement.Making a panic reaction to an emergency.Overcorrecting is referred to as over-steering.
8…cont.FATIGUEA rollover can also occur when a driver is tired, dozes off at the wheel and loses control of the van.TRAVELING TOO FASTA 15-passenger van can slide sideways and off the road when the driver is traveling too fast for the road conditions, especially when the pavement is wet or icy. When the van’s tires hit the softer earth, the van could likely roll over.
9SAFETY GUIDELINESThe first thing to remember when driving a 15-passenger van is that it isn’t simply a big car. A van handles differently, especially when fully loaded. Drivers should be trained and experienced. As a comparison, federal law requires a commercial driver’s license to transport 16 or more people for commercial purposes.BEFORE SETTING OFFInspect the van.Familiarize yourself with the locations of controls such as headlight switches and windshield wipers.Check the position of mirrors and adjust the seat.Tire pressure and tread wear should be checked weekly.Tires improperly inflated can cause a blowout.
10LOADING THE VAN Fill in the front seats first. If possible, have passengers and cargo forward of the rear axle.If the van is loaded to capacity, remind yourself that the center of gravity has shifted and the van will handle differently than when you are driving alone or with just a few people.You should never have more than 15 people riding in the van.Avoid placing loads on the roof of the van, doing so increases the risk of a rollover.
11RESTRAINTSOne of the most important safety tips when operating a van is to make sure every passenger is buckled at ALL times.NHTSA found that 80% of passengers killed in rollover crashes involving 15-passenger vans were not using safety belts.People who use safety belts are 75% less likely to be killed in a rollover crash than those who don’t.IT IS CRITICAL TO REQUIRE THE USE OF SAFETY BELTS, EVEN IF DRIVING AROUND CAMPUS or LOCALLY.
12DEFENSIVE DRIVING While on the road, use defense driving techniques: Be alert and stay focused on your task.Do not use a cell phone while driving.Don’t tailgate; leave more space between you and the vehicle in front of you than you would if you were driving a car. A 15-passenger van requires much more braking distance.On the highway, be mindful of your blind spots. Allow more space and use side-mirrors when changing lanes. Most rollovers are a result of sudden steering maneuver while traveling at high speeds. Therefore:DO not follow other vehicles too closely.Avoid changing lanes abruptly.
13ADDITIONAL DRIVING TIPS Drive during the day if possible.Have someone stay awake in the front seat with you to help keep you alert.Take breaks often, especially if feeling tired.Never drive after drinking or taking drugs, which includes some prescription and over-the-counter medications.Drive at a safe speed for the weather and road conditions.Remember, the speed you normally drive in a car may be too fast for a 15-passenger van.
14CONCLUSIONIf you are driving a 15-passenger van, find out if you can practice driving the van before you transport any passengers or cargo. This will help you get the feel of the size and handling.REMEMBER:Make sure everyone, including you, uses a safety belt at ALL times. In fact, require each person to put on his or her safety belt before the van leaves the parking lot.While driving, avoid sharp turns, abrupt lane changes or steering maneuvers.Always maintain a safe speed for the weather and road conditions.
1515-PASSENGER VAN QUIZ Answer TRUE or FALSE per Question: 1. Driving a 15-passenger van is just like driving a car. _________2. The risk of a 15-passenger van rolling over increases dramatically as the number of passenger increases. _________3. As more people fill a 15-passenger van, the center of gravity moves downward and to the front of the van. __________4. Speed is not a factor in rollovers. _________5. Research shows that occupants of 15-passenger vans use safety belts much less than occupants of other types of vehicles._______6. Inexperience is more of a factor in crashes of 15-passenger vans than age.______7. Two of the most common causes of rollovers is the wheels running off the road and overcorrecting the steering.______8. It’s just as easy to drive at night as it is during the day.________9. The van’s tire pressure and tread wear should be checked least once a week. ________10. When loading the van, fill the rear seats first. _______People who wear safety belts are 75% less likely to be killed in rollover crashes than those who don’t. ________It’s critical to require the use of safety belts.________
16ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF TRAINING 15 Passenger Van I have attended the 15 Passenger Van Training and completed and passed the required Quiz.____________________________________Employee’s Signature DateTrainer’s Name DateNote: This record may be included in the employee’s personnel or training file.