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With summer now in full swing, for many organizations, this means it’s time to start preparing transportation for summer camps, youth groups, mission trips, and other activities. During Tire Safety Week, which was held May 24 to 30, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminded all vehicle owners about the importance of tire safety. During the next several months, NHTSA advises all operators of 15-passanger vans to follow proper tire maintenance to avoid deadly crashes.

According to the announcement, from 2004 to 2013, 653 Americans have since died in crashes while riding in 15-passenger vans. This is an average of 65 occupants per year. Nearly 60 percent of these fatalities were due to the van rolling over. To avoid 15-passenger van accidents, it is important to make sure that these vehicles are well equipped and checked routinely.

NHTSA recognizes the dangers of not maintaining the vehicle properly. Consider these tips for tire safety:
Select high quality tires and, for 15-passenger vans, use tires that are rated load range E.

  • Before every trip, check your owner’s manual or door pillar for correct tire pressures.

  • Make sure that tires have adequate tread depth, greater than 1/8 inch.

  • Be aware that tires can degrade overtime regardless of wear. For this reason, GuideOne recommends replacing 15-passenger van tires over five years of age. For additional information on tire aging, visit www.safecar.gov.

  • Owners should have suspension and steering components inspected according to the manufacturers recommended schedule, and replace/repair these parts if necessary.

  • Know the owner’s guide on replacing tires and using your spare, if needed.

  • Do not use spare tires as your replacement tires, unless necessary.

Beyond tires, consider the following precautions for 15-passenger vans:

  • Make sure that all drivers of your 15-passenger van are properly licensed and experienced in operating the vehicle. Utilize a CDL licensed driver or a driver that has completed a defensive driver course specifically designed for operators of a 15-passenger van (GuideOne has a free course available to policyholders at SafeChurch.com).

  • Consider safer vehicle alternatives.

  • Complete pre- and post-trip inspections of the vehicle.

  • Keep as much weight low and forward in the vehicle as possible.

  • Require seat bel use by the driver and all passengers.

For more information on tire safety and preventing crashes and fatalities, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.


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