Sen. Introduces Van Safety Legislation
U.S. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) introduced legislation on Mar. 26 to improve 15-passenger van safety by requiring rollover testing, advanced technological systems testing, and closing loopholes that put schoolchildren at risk.Snowe developed the “Passenger Van Safety Act of 2003” after a briefing she requested for Members of the Senate Commerce Committee from the National Highway Trans-portation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Snowe, along with other members of the Committee, questioned Jeffrey Runge, NHTSA Administrator, about NHTSA’s dynamic rollover plan. She noted that vans with 15 occupants have a rollover risk six times higher than that of vans with five occupants.The Passenger Van Safety Act of 2003 includes the following provisions:NHTSA must include 15-passenger vans in their dynamic rollover program, which is currently being developed as mandated by the TREAD (Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation) Act.Fifteen-passenger vans must be included in NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) rollover resistance program. This program provides consumers with a measure of the relative safety potential of vehicles in frontal crashes.NHTSA must evaluate, in conjunction with van manufacturers, the potential of technological systems to assist drivers in maintaining control of the vans.