Maryland State Police continue to investigate and are seeking witnesses to a single-vehicle crash in Hagerstown, which killed one passenger and injured four others on November 30, 2017. The accident involved a passenger van from The Arc of Washington County, an organization that promotes independence for individuals with developmental disabilities. According to a report from ABC Channel 2 News WMAR out of Baltimore, the van was heading east when it veered off the roadway and traveled about 200 feet before striking a tree. Officials stated that it is unclear why the driver left the road, and there was no indication of braking or other maneuvers to avoid a collision. Passenger vans present characteristics that make them more likely to be involved in serious auto accidents and cause serious injuries to victims.
Dangers of Passenger Vans
Passenger vans are convenient for a number of applications, including transportation for multiple elderly or disabled individuals, airport shuttle service, school athletics, and other situations. However, research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that these vehicles have a higher rollover risk in a collision due to their shape and weight distribution. Plus, the rate of rollover crashes increases when there are more than 10 passengers, even when the van is certified to carry up to 12 or 15 people. NHTSA data reveals that 15-passenger vans carrying more than 10 occupants are almost three times more likely to rollover in single-vehicle crashes as compared to those carrying fewer than five people.
As a result of their findings, the NHTSA issued a list of suggestions to help reduce the risk of fatal and serious accidents involving passenger vans.
- Tire Safety: Operators of these vehicles should follow proper tire maintenance and conduct an inspection weekly, including checking the manufacturers recommended pressure levels.
- Cargo: The NHTSA cautions against loading items on the roof of the van.
- Drivers: Vans should only be operated by individuals who are trained and have experience driving them on a regular basis. It is recommended that the driver have a commercial driver’s license, even where not required by law.
- Seat Belts: Drivers must wear a seat belt at all times, and insist that all passengers do the same.
- Occupancy: A passenger van should never carry more than the designated number of passengers as indicated by the manufacturer. In addition, passengers should sit in seats in front of the rear axle when the vehicle is not at capacity.
- Speed: An operator should always drive in accordance posted speed limits, or travel under the limit where conditions require it.
In the event that the operator of a passenger van fails to take these and other safety measures into account, serious accidents can occur. If you are injured as a result, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses, including medical costs and pain and suffering. For more information on passenger van accidents in Maryland, please contact the office of attorney Michael A. Freedman in Owings Mills. Our legal team can schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your case.
See Related Blog Posts: