Friday, February 8, 2008

15 Passenger Vans and you!

After reading the above, and remembering the 15 passenger van crashes in quebec a few years ago, and the more recent tragic accident involving the basketball team not long ago, I have a few things to add to the reccomendations, and should be implemented Canada wide.

The 15 passenger vans, be it from ford, chevy, dodge, mercedes, are all well known for thier instability. Due to the construction methods required to make such a long vehicle, the body of the vehicle sits atop of its truck like frame. The higher center of gravity can make the van more ubstable, and more prone to rolling over, or loosing control while fully loaded.

I drive one of these machines, a Ford E series, or a Chevrolet Express, on a regular basis in my line of work with the Canadian armed forces.

The manufacturer cant be blamed in this case, as the ones ive driven all have bright yellow warning labels, informing the operator of the increased risk. Ford has even used its RSC stability program to help the issue, but what I think it boils down to is qualification, and driver training.

I believe that 15 passenger vans should be encorporated into the bus liscencing system Canada wide, preventing non-qualified operators from using the vans until they are proven safe to operate the vehicle. The military does this and from my view, it has proven effective. All professional operators must pass a course to receive priveledge to drive these vehicles.

As well, yearly inspections must be completed on these vehicles to verify that they are in good working order. This should be mandatory before the vehicle is given a new sticker each year. Ths military does this as well, and likewise, you'd be hard pressed to find an unsafe DND plated 15 passenger van.

The same standards should be maintained with the cargo variants of these vans as they exibit similar charactoristics when fully loaded with cargo.

I dont believe that the vehicles are at fault here. I blame a lack of driver training and maintenance..

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