One sad tragedy after another has finally caused the Canadian Parliament to consider a bill to ban 15-passenger vans for all student use and eventually they will be banned altogether. The Canwest News Service reports that MP Crowder is now backing the bill that was originally presented by MP Yvon Godin.
Ms. Crowder’s son was killed in a rollover accident in one of these vans in 2008 in Manitoba. This was also the year that the Bathurst High School basketball team and one teacher were killed when their van swerved on the Trans-Canadian Highway and hit a truck. The Bathurst tragedy was the incident that moved Godin to write the bill. Prior to this bill, Canada has not banned these 15-passenger vans at all, while many of the American states including California have banned them for all student use under the college level. Universities and colleges are starting to ban these vans for university sponsored events as a risk management precaution and private groups are doing the same.
The “Times Colonist” reports that the Canadian bill would also limit the sale, import and interprovincial shipment of vans and van parts in Canada, leading to an all-out ban on the “deadly” vehicles when used to transport passengers, said Godin. “The reason why these vans are so dangerous is simple: They were never designed to transport passengers. They were designed to transport goods,” said Godin. “I hope for the good of the safety of our children that the government takes the lead on this…and introduces a bill right after this one.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has put out several safety advisories on the 15-passenger van since 2001, the most recent being in spring 2010, but has stopped at recommending a full ban of the vehicles, although since 1990 400 people have died in accidents due to the rollover of these vans.
The only federal regulations existing state that new 15-passenger vans may not be sold to schools and that drivers of these vans need to have a commercial driver’s license with the training that entails.
The 15-passenger van was actually considered a very convenient idea and was an economical way to move relatively small groups without all of the fuel and other expense of a school bus. Several church groups and other non-profit agencies still use these vans and cannot afford to get rid of them to buy some other form of transportation. However the extreme danger of 15 passenger vans with their product liability cases product defect is still out there for the passengers of the vans, and for the unfortunate vehicles they may collide with. This is why an act banning these vehicles to force them off the road for good is absolutely necessary. The federal and state governments need to do this as soon as possible.
For more information, please see For more information, see 15-Passenger Van Advisory.