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.
  • Originally posted on Fleet Financials