Saturday, October 12, 2013

KXAN NBC In Depth Investigative: 15-passenger vans come with warnings Many warnings for vans like one in fatal accident

By Chris Sadeghi

Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013, 6:38 PM CDT
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013, 5:40 PM CDT

PFLUGERVILLE (KXAN) - Thursday’s rollover accident in Pflugerville involved a vehicle and a stretch of highway that both have been subject to safety concerns.

To read original article on KXAN News website, click here

Three members of a Killeen Church were killed while riding in a large style passenger van on the 80 mph stretch of highway 130.

Police believe the van had a tire blowout before rolling over several times into the median. A re-creation of the accident is underway, but it is currently unknown how fast the van was traveling or if speed was a factor in the blowout.

Still, passenger vans like the one used by so many church organizations have garnered plenty of red tape due to safety concerns.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has also recommended not using 15-passenger vans to transport children and federal law prevents schools from buying new vans for school transportation.

“Being a top-heavy van tends to make them flip and turn,” said David Buratti with Reddy Automotive. Keeping tall vehicles upright requires a strong base which in this case means strong tires.

“With these vans, you want to use a 10-ply tire because it is such a heavy vehicle.”

While similar passenger vans have developed a bad reputation for accidents, Pflugerville Police would not say the same for the speedy highway 130.

Since the 80 mph limit was implemented in 2012, Pflugerville PD said there has been nothing to indicate either the limit or the design of the highway is leading to more accidents.

Highway 130 also features a stretch where the speed limit is 85 mph, the fastest in the country.