Passenger Van Rollover in Vandalia Kills 5, Injures 6

A group on their way home from a religious event in California has been the victim of the latest local SUV roll over crash. This morning the 15 person passenger van reportedly ran into the median on eastbound highway 70, before crossing traffic and rolling over. It is reported that 11 people were riding inside the 15 person passenger van. A recent string of SUV rollover accidents has sparked a new renewal of warnings over the dangerous nature of the large vans.

The van rollover occurred around 9:45 am, Monday morning, under ideal weather conditions. The crash was approximately 57 miles northeast from St. Louis, at mile marker 57 on highway 70. Officers at the scene report that all 5 of those fatally injured were ejected from the van during the rollover. Initial reports state that the driver of the van may have ‘overcorrected’ the vehicle as result of a possible shifiting load.

Of the six injured survivors, some were airlifted to St. Louis University Hospital, some taken to Greenville Regional Hospital, as well taken to a hospital in Springfield, Illinois. All of the occupants were reported to be men and no women or children were involved.

15 passenger vans have recently come under fire due to several similar one vehicle rollovers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the fatality rate for drivers of 15 passenger vans is less than other vehicles; however, the non-driving passengers often have a much higher fatality rate than passengers of other vehicles. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that 1090 people died between the years 1997 and 2006 as the result of 15 passenger vans, with 668 of those being from SUV rollover accidents. In addition to the dangerous nature of the 15-person vans, several other popular SUV’s have rated poorly in a recent SUV safety study.

Some useful facts about the dangers 15 person passenger vans are as follows:

  • The center of gravity of a loaded 15-person van may cause the center of gravity to shift rearward and upward. This can increase the incidence of a rollover.
  • When a 15 person van is loaded with between 5-9 occupants, it is twice as likely to become a victim of a rollover, as opposed to being loaded with 5 and under passengers.
  • Speeds of 50 mph and winding roads greatly increase the likelihood of a rollover.
  • Federal law outlaws selling 15 person vans for the transportation of high school kids.

If you chose to transport children in a 15 person passenger van, the following safety precautions should be observed:

  • Ensure the driver of the van is properly trained. Carrying 15 people in van does not require a commercial motor vehicle license, but the training can save lives.
  • Make sure the tires on the vehicle are properly inflated and not worn out. Before taking any 15 person passenger van on a road trip, make sure it is inspected and safe for travel.
  • Try to load the vehicle so the weight is in front of the rear axle and keep loads off the roof.
  • Make sure the driver is well rested. Driver fatigue may result in drifting or other dangerous driving which may lead to ‘overcorrecting’ of the vehicle. This surprise may lead to panic and carry devastating consequences.
  • It is imperative that those carrying sports teams and children pay extra attention and take extra precautions. Loud, rambunctious children can create additional noise and distraction which requires extra attention.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as the result of a SUV rollover, contact a St. Louis rollover lawyer to discuss your legal rights despite where the crash occurred. SUV rollover cases must be investigated immediately to gather all necessary evidence while it exists. The failure to preserve and inspect the vehicle can have devestating consequences on your ability to recover reimbursement for your loss.

Contact and SUV and St. Louis wrongful death lawyer immediately for a free consultation by calling 314-409-7060. Rollover accident lawyer Chris Dixon has successfully recovered over $34,000,000 for injury victims and their families. For his efforts, Chris has been recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association, among the National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, and a Life-Time Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

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