NHTSA Issues Safety Warning on 15-Passenger Vans
Fifteen-passenger vans are especially popular this time of year to provide transportation for sports teams, church groups, and summer camps. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued a safety warning about the vans, urging proper loading of the vans and seatbelt use. General Motors is also urging the proper use of these vehicles. GM says van drivers should consult the owner's manual for specific driving and loading precautions and to invest in driver training. Drivers and passengers should check to make sure the tires are in good condition and properly inflated. And seat belt use should be mandatory.Manufacturers like GM are also taking other measures to make the vans safer. Vans are being equipped with a longer wheelbase to help the driver maintain control under varying road conditions. And computer-driven stability enhancement systems are also helping drivers maintain control of their vehicle. The systems read road conditions, sense a drivers intended direction and manage the throttle and braking of individual wheels during evasive maneuvers. Currently standard on 2004 Chevrolet and GMC models, stability enhancement systems will be on all large passenger vans by the 2006-model year.