How to Stay Safe While on the Road with a 15 Passenger Van

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Drivers operating 15-passenger vans need to have a commercial driver’s license before they can hit the road — true or false? As strange as it sounds, this bit of information is actually false. As long as you’re not transporting any more than 15 passengers (including yourself) in a large passenger bus or van, you won’t need to obtain your CDL. But that doesn’t mean just anyone can drive one of those large machines.

It’s become common knowledge that passenger vans and buses have high rollover rates, and Georgia’ Department of Administrative Services recently released a report detailing all the safety risks inherent in the design of the vehicles that can cause these accidents. Based on that, we’ve put together a list of the risks as well as the appropriate 15 passenger van safety measures to take in order to prevent rollovers and other tragic scenarios from playing out.

All it takes is a little attention to detail and plenty of careful, diligent driving.

Rollovers happen because of improper loading procedures.

The Problem: If passenger vans are at capacity, there’s a greater chance the vehicle could roll over, and there’s not much that can be done to offset the physics of those situations. When they’re loaded with five or fewer passengers, the risk is only about as high as it would be for light trucks and other vans. But when at least nine passengers are aboard, the chances for rolling over tend to triple.

The Solution: When it comes to 15 passenger van safety, nothing is more essential than ensuring the load is centered. Vans that are packed with excessive weight near the rear tend to shift their centers of gravity toward the weight, causing a higher risk of fishtailing when the vehicle heads around a turn. Instead of loading up the trunk, try to evenly distribute any luggage and other carry-on throughout the vehicle.

Low tire pressure can be extremely hazardous for highway driving.

The Problem: Passenger vans are often used as church buses, or transport vessels for folks on field tips because they can hold larger groups of people. But the more people you have on board, the more pressure that gets placed on the tires. And if the tires are low in pressure to begin with, they run the extreme risk of blowing out or causing perilous dips as the vehicle careens around tight corners.

The Solution: Check the vehicle’s tires before every trip and fill them to their appropriate levels — no more, no less. Bring the van into a shop for a full tuneup before hitting the road, and once you’re actually on the road, have all passengers on board wear their seat belts at all times. Think of these as the unbreakable commandments of 15 passenger van safety.

For more information on 15 passenger vans and their safety issues, you can find more data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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