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Passenger Van Rollovers, remove rear seats for safety (memo 02/07/07)

From: Barry Law, Director, NMSU Transportation Services
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a warning expressing their concern over 15 passenger van rollover frequency.

There have been over 400 deaths attributable to rollovers involving 15 passenger vans, many of which were College students. When the vans are fully loaded they handle differently than when unloaded; the center of
gravity alters, causing the vehicle to be highly susceptible to rollover whenever an abrupt maneuver is taken.

Although the larger vans are a great benefit to the University, assisting with the transportation of students and cargo, their liability exposure is too great to just ignore. In light of these concerns and the potential liability exposure faced by the University, the current mode of operation of these vehicles must change. Transportation Services has taken the initiative of removing all the rear seats from their 15 passenger vans.

We are recommending that all departments, operating 15 passenger vans, do likewise and remove the rear seat. The removal of the rear seat, will in effect, limit the number of passengers and alter the center of gravity, lessening the chances for rollover.

This does not remove however, the driver’s responsibility to ensure that all passengers are wearing seat belts, and that the vehicle is operated in a safe manner.

If you are needing assistance removing the rear seats, need storage space for the seats, or have any questions or concerns, please direct those to Barry Law, Director of Transportation at 646-3295.

Memo ABCD-Distribution: Date: Feb 7, 2007

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