Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In 2002 the state of Virginia phased out 15 passenger vans: Where is Canada???

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From: Yoke San Reynolds, Vice President for Finance

Subject: Phasing Out the Use of 15-Passenger Vans

In response to the safety concerns outlined below, the attached Policy on Phasing Out the Use of 15-Passenger Vans has been adopted, effective immediately. For assistance in chartering buses or renting alternatives to 15-passenger vans, please contact Ana Lynch in Procurement Services at 924-4219 or aml8q@virginia.edu.

Concerns regarding the use of 15-passenger vans:

State's Division of Risk Management has issued an advisory indicating that there are serious safety issues regarding the use of 15-passenger vans. It refers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's warning entitled The Rollover Propensity of Fifteen-Passenger Vans. Based on the SSF (Static Stability Factor), a 15-passenger van with a driver is 21% less stable than a passenger car with a driver.

NHTSA's analysis revealed that loading the 15-passenger van causes the center of gravity to shift rearward and upward, increasing the likelihood of rollovers. Based on crash data, when the van was loaded with ten or more occupants it was almost three times as likely to rollover as compared with less than 10 occupants, with five to nine occupants it was almost two times as likely to rollover as compared with less than 5 occupants. It was inherently unstable when maneuvering to avoid an accident or taking sharp turns, particularly in poor weather conditions when measured at 15-occupant loading.

During the past several years there have been serious accidents, some involving fatalities, when these vans have been used to transport students. In fact, these vans do not meet federal school bus safety standards and are no longer being used by the local school districts to transport students.

The standard design of the 15-passenger van does not meet the normal reinforcement requirements of passenger cars or school buses in the area behind the drivers seat.


Effective 03/12/02

1) High School and younger students must not be transported in 12 and 15-passenger vans, or other specialty vehicles not meeting school bus standards.

2) 15-passenger vans may not be purchased or rented, effective immediately.

3) On 07/01/04 the use of currently owned 15-passenger vans for passenger transportation use is no longer permitted.

4) Currently owned 15-passenger vans may be used for transporting passengers until 07/01/04. Strict adherence to the following Best Practices is required until their use is eliminated.

Best Practices

1. Restrictions on van usage:
a. Out of town travel is prohibited.
b. Drivers may not drive between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. without special permission from the Dean or Department Head.
c. Drivers must obey all traffic regulations, not exceeding posted speed limits, and never to exceed 50 mph at any time.

2. Allow only trained, certified, and authorized drivers to operate vehicles.
a. Students who are not employees must not operate 15-passenger vans or trucks.
b. Minimum age of driver must be 21 unless the driver has a CDL or EVOC Certification. Every driver must possess a valid driver's license.
c. Driver must have a minimum of two years driving experience.
d. A driver's transcript will reveal no more than one moving violation within the last 12 months, and the driver will be required to verify this. Human Resources will perform a driver's transcript check by request.
e. There must be no violations or traffic stops related to alcohol or drugs.
f. Successful completion of the University's 15-Passenger Van training program and road test, provided by Parking & Transportation, within the past two years.

3. Drivers are responsible for limiting occupants and cargo weight, inspecting the vehicle prior to leaving the parking site and monitoring the vehicle for proper operation.
a. The last two rows of seats must be removed, and occupants must be limited to 8. You must further reduce occupants by 1 for every 150 lbs of cargo.
b. Any defects must be noted and must be corrected prior to departure.
c. Weather conditions must be evaluated and travel must be curtailed when conditions are hazardous. (This includes but is not limited to fog, heavy rain, snow, ice, high winds, ... etc.)
d. All equipment and luggage carried must be secured in a safe manner.
e. Trailers and roof-mounted loads are prohibited. Vehicles must not be overloaded.
f. Tires should be properly inflated based on the load carried.
g. A cell phone, charged battery and a battery charger must be provided for each vehicle/trip. Drivers must not use a cell-phone while driving.
h. Vehicle headlights must be on when driving.
i. Drivers must not drive a vehicle that is not operating properly.