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As Risk Control Manager for the NCACC, Bob Carruth manages the operation of the Risk Control Team for the Risk Management Pools. The team assists members with development of safety policies and programs and identification of liability exposures and controls. Carruth is a Certified Safety Professional and is certified as an Associate – Risk Management. For archives of this column click here.
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Posted on August 4, 2015 at 12:50 PM by Todd McGee
On March 29, 2015, a 15-passenger van carrying 18 adults and children was returning from a Palm Sunday retreat in south Florida. The van ran through a stop sign and veered to make a sharp corner. The driver lost control of the van, sending it into a drainage canal. Eight passengers were killed, and the other 10 were sent to the hospital.
On April 6, 2015, a 15-passenger van carrying members of two rock bands traveling from Spartanburg to Atlanta ran off an interstate highway and crashed into a tree. The van was also towing a cargo trailer. The driver and two passengers were killed and eight more were injured, some severely. Initial reports indicate that fatigue may have been a factor.
Although there were several factors that contributed to the two incidents highlighted here, both involved the transport of passengers in a 15-passenger van. Although there has been a lot of attention paid over the past 20 years to this type of vehicle, and many organizations have transitioned away from its use, it still remains one of the most popular means for specialty transportation needs. I am sure most of us have some story to tell about our own experiences traveling to camp or on vacation in one of these vans. After all, using a large van such as this avoids the long convoy of cars heading down the road, and everyone can pile their personal gear in the van, thereby saving on gas for a long trip.
One can get lulled into a sense of complacency when operating a 15-passenger van. According to the blogsite “15-passenger.com” and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, research indicates several findings regarding these vans:
Some additional precautions that should be followed by counties:
As with any other project or endeavor undertaken, transportation is a key element. Adequate preparation and planning can help to decrease the risks faced when operating this important element of our transportation networks.