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  1. #1
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    15 passenger Van safety

    Can anyone explain to me why seatbelts are the only requirement for children over 3 years old in a 15 passenger van? I know that the rules are state specific but when my son goes on field trips at preschool, I was told that the he only needed a seatbelt and no car set (since he is older then 3)

    His preschool is a private entity and I've been told (and done some research to verify) that there are no rules on using car seats. I'm petrified of this and it just seems wrong.

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    I believe it has something to do with vehicular weight. Anything over X pounds (4500?? Someone help me out here!) is classified as a bus and therefore falls under the rules for a bus.

    I think that's it. We had someone here not too long ago hoping to buy one for her family and she was having trouble finding ways to get carseats to fit in. I think in the end she didn't get it.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  4. #3
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    That is a good question. Preschoolers should be in a restraint system, regardless of vehicle type. I'm surprised that any state would waive their restraint laws for 15 passenger vans, given the poor safety record of those vehicles.

    In my opinion, a group of 3-year olds using only lap belts in a 15-passenger van is a horrible tradgedy waiting to happen:-(

  5. #4
    CPS Technician Lys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPSDarren View Post
    That is a good question. Preschoolers should be in a restraint system, regardless of vehicle type. I'm surprised that any state would waive their restraint laws for 15 passenger vans, given the poor safety record of those vehicles.

    In my opinion, a group of 3-year olds using only lap belts in a 15-passenger van is a horrible tradgedy waiting to happen:-(
    There already WAS a tragedy just like this in SC ( where I am from) I sadly witnessed the accident. It was horrible. An 18 wheeler could not stop at a red light ( it was a blind intersection) and t-boned the van. Little kids were thrown out of the van and allover this 4 lane highway! I can still vividly remember it!!
    It's been quite a few years ago but because one of the children died in the accident, SC law no longer allows daycares to use these types of vans to transport children. The children's parents enacted a new law to prevent this from happening again.
    http://www.jacobs-law.org/

    Here is an excerpt about the incident
    "In 1994, Heathwood Hall Episcopal school of South Carolina had a 15-passenger van (owned by the school) involved in an accident - several injured, one young man died. The parents sued everybody. The driver of the van was not at fault - truck ran a red light and hit them broadside. The result was the single largest wrongful death settlement ever in the state of South Carolina. Here's why: 1. It is a violation of Federal Law (title 49) for a dealer to sell a vehicle to a school that does not meet federal Motor Vehicle safety Standards consistent with the 1974 Congressional mandate for school bus safety. The van dealer was found liable. 2. Federal regulations DO NOT prohibit the use of these vehicles once the school owns them, but the school was found negligent for using an improper vehicle to transport students."
    Lysandra
    CPST, LLLL and SAHM
    Mia 13, Ian 10, Clek Olli x2, TB and BubbleBum

  6. #5
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    That is soooo sad. I'm heading to my son's preschool now to talk to the director about this.

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy
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    Okay, i'm confused, How were the kids thrown out? Weren't they in apropriate seats? And would a small school bus really have been better? Those arent' even required to have seatbelts.

  8. #7
    CPS Technician Lys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubysGirl View Post
    Okay, i'm confused, How were the kids thrown out? Weren't they in apropriate seats? And would a small school bus really have been better? Those arent' even required to have seatbelts.
    This may better explain why.
    To proceed further, we need to differentiate between a school bus and a 15-passenger van. A school bus is specially manufactured to be extremely crash-resistant. A high strength skeleton is covered by a double wall of rigid sheet metal; the roof is reinforced to protect against collapse in a rollover; fuel tanks are reinforced to prevent leakage and explosion upon impact. A 15-passenger van is manufactured to truck standards, with the end use of the vehicle intended for the hauling of cargo. There is some reinforcement in the driver compartment, but in the rear cargo area there is a flimsy skeleton covered by one layer of sheet metal. A 15-passenger van in essence is a basic cargo van that has had its interior stripped out, and has rows of benches bolted onto the floor.

    http://www.isacs.org/resources/monog...=6&action=show

    Also, if you go to the Jacob's law website, there is a photo of the crashed van. There was no glass left in one side of the van.
    And this information about 15 passenger vehicles
    Conclusions of the NTSB Report:
    In almost each of the 4 accidents the driver of the van was partly or totally at fault for the accident
    If the students who died had been made to wear their seatbelts they probably would have lived. The cause of their death in almost every case was being ejected from the vehicle.
    If the vehicles met the FVSS's for School buses there would have been less damage and potentially less injury and death.

    http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/facil...ontroversy.htm
    Lysandra
    CPST, LLLL and SAHM
    Mia 13, Ian 10, Clek Olli x2, TB and BubbleBum

  9. #8
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    When I go to www.jacobs-law.org the site does not open. Is anyone else having this problem?
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  10. #9
    Carseat Crazy
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    Lysandra, all I can say is WOW. Those are some powerful articles! I have always intended to never let my children ride in a 15 passenger van and now I have more reason to stick with that resolve.
    What is sad is that here in Texas, those vans pull up each day at the elem. schools and load up with kids to go to daycares. The drivers are all young and the kids don't seem to be properly restrained. I've even seen some drivers talking on cell phones while driving.
    I guess I DID have more to say than 'WOW'!
    Thanks for sharing,
    C.

  11. #10
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    I've seen the same thing happen. I've been preaching to the fellow preschool moms not to allow their kids in the van but they all look at me like I'm crazy. I am the only one to carry my britax car seat to preschool for any field trip for my 3.5 year old and get the strange looks. I've just started driving him myself, at least I feel better.

  12. #11

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