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15-Passenger Van Safety

Fifteen-passenger vans, which make up 0.25 % of the passenger vehicle fleet, are frequently used to transport school sports teams, vanpools and other groups.  Although they are involved in a proportionate number of fatal accidents compared to their percentage in the fleet, they are involved in a higher rate of single-vehicle accidents involving rollovers than other passenger vehicles.

Various factors have been associated with vehicle rollover, particularly occupancy level and vehicle speed. The rollover rate for fully loaded 15-passenger vans is about three times the rollover rate of vans with fewer than 5 passengers.

Fully loading a 15-passenger van causes the center of gravity to move rearward and upward, which increase the vehicle’s rollover propensity and could increase the potential for driver loss of control in emergency maneuvers.

The following recommendations should be followed when driving a 15-passenger van:

  • The number of passengers, including the driver, should be no more than eleven.
  • All passengers must use the lap/shoulder belt system at seating positions were installed.
  • All cargo is prohibited on the roof of the van.
  • Cargo inside the van must be stacked no higher than the top of the van seats.
  • Towing with a 15-passenger van is prohibited.
  • Anytime the van is operated with less than ten passengers, all passengers must sit as far forward in the vehicle as possible.

May 2011
Reviewed November 2014