Tuesday, November 20, 2018

VAN ANGELS remind Canadians of the important "Safety Guidelines For The Use of 15-Passenger Vans" after recent van crash in Fields, BC

The crash of 2006 Ford E350 15 passenger van in Fields, BC in November 2018 has put the spotlight on these type of vehicles. In this image from the owners' Instagram account, you can see the van was towing a heavy trailer:
"...for bands that tour Canada in the winter, an accident like this is a nightmare constantly in the back of our minds."
A recent roll over in Fields, BC involving a 2006 Ford E350 15 passenger van has once again put a spot light on these types of vehicles. On November 9, 2018 this incident involving a Calgary band is a stark reminder that it is extremely important (life and death scenario) to recognize and understand that these type of vans handle differently than other passenger vehicles, especially when fully loaded with people and luggage / equipment / gear. 

Click here to read article on CBC about 15 passenger van crash in Fields, British Columbia, Canada.

Our VAN ANGELS transportation safety advocacy group was established after the loss of our sons in two separate 15 passenger van incidents in 2008. On January 12, 2008, 7 players from the Bathurst  High School boys' basketball team and the coach's wife died in a  1997 Ford E350 15-passenger van collision with a semi-tractor trailer (now forever remembered as the 'Boys' in Red')​. Again in 2008, on September 25, a 26 year old drummer with the Vancouver indie rock group, the Hotel Lobbyists, died in a 1994 Ford E350 15-passenger van rollover outside Brandon, Manitoba.

These two tragic and deadly events led our VAN ANGELS group to lobby for the banning of 15-passenger vans in Canada, to request a safety review of these vans, and to push for a nation-wide informational format to educate the public to specific safety issues associated with these particular vehicles. We were able to accomplish two of these goals.  Transport Canada did conduct a 2 year safety review of the vans (2010-2012) and then tasked the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) to develop a national approach to delivering the safety message to the public. In 2013, each province and territory sent out SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF 15-PASSENGER VANS, to every registered 15-passenger van owner in Canada.

Although 10 years have passed since the deaths of our sons in 2008,  many new Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards CMVSS) have  become mandatory features such as ESC and side air bags. The design of   the 15-passenger van's  with its high centre of gravity / top heavinest still makes abrupt or sudden steering manoeuvres a dangerous challenge. Even today, the mandatory roof crush standards for regular passenger cars is still higher than the minimum safety standards for a  15-passenger van and consequently rollovers can severely compromise the passenger compartment. Nothing has changed as far as the loading of passengers and cargo:  the way the van is loaded and the distrbution of the weight can change how it handles.  It is important to know that roof racks, rear cargo boxes and tow trailers should be avoided as they will negatively affect the handling and control of this type of vehicle. Proper tires and tire pressure is another important factor that needs to be maintained and inspected regularly. For some vehicles, the required tire pressure can be different for the front and rear tires.

We strongly urge Canadians to review these SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF 15-PASSENGER VANS:​


Our Van Angels group is still adamant that 15 passenger vans are 'death traps'. They were originally designed to carry cargo and they were never redesigned to transport human beings. It has been 5 years since the safety guidelines been issued by the ccmta and it is evident that public awareness is still lacking. The vans were never banned nation wide, although many provinces did banned them for school use. The fact remains these vans on our highways are dangerous. 

From the band's Instagram account "The van and trailer rolled on the way from Vancouver to Toronto. Everyone is ok, we feel very lucky. I can’t say how grateful I am that everyone is alive... for bands that tour Canada in the winter, an accident like this is a nightmare constantly in the back of our minds. "