15 Passenger Van Florida Crash That Killed 8 To Be Investigated by NTSB
“Probes into the accident in Glades County are underway by the Florida Highway Patrol as well as the National Transportation Safety Board, which sent two investigators to the scene.
Peter Knudson, an NTSB spokesman, said investigators will look at whether the unlit T-intersection set amid farmland had a history of accidents, whether the van’s safety features worked as they should have, the 18 occupants’ use of seatbelts and any factors affecting the driver.
The driver, 58-year-old Volsaint Marsaille, was among those killed in the crash. He was a longtime St. Lucie County school bus driver with a good record who had driven for the Independent Haitian Assembly of God for many years, his son-in-law Philippe Dorce said.”….
“Some insurance companies refuse to insure them because it’s so dangerous,” said Joan Claybrook, who headed the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration under President Jimmy Carter and is a past president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. Though Marsaille went through a stop sign and his vehicle had too many people on board, Claybrook said such vans have inherent safety issues that make them more prone to tragedy.
Claybrook and other safety advocates have pointed to numerous issues in the vans that make them more susceptible to fatal accidents, from the height and width of the vehicles, to the structural integrity of seats and seatbelt availability and quality. Older models are particularly maligned, lacking stability controls and tire pressure monitoring features of newer vans.
Federal transportation officials have warned about the potential instability of 15-passenger vans for over a decade. The NHTSA has warned colleges and church groups, among others, that overloading the vans increases the risk of rollover and makes the vehicles difficult to maneuver in emergencies. Officials also urge all occupants in the vans to wear seatbelts and all owners to check the tire pressure for every trip.
Some 521 people died in crashes involving 15-passenger vans from 2004 through 2010, according to federal statistics.” (Emphasis added).
More Probes Needed
NTSB counted 34,678 transportation fatalities in 2013. 32,718 deaths (94%) were Highway fatalities and 443 (1.3%) were Aviation fatalities.
NTSB’s Statement of Net Cost for 2013 Operations was $104 million. * $53 million (51%) was for Aviation Safety.
* $30 million (29%) was for Surface Transportation Safety which included Highway (32,718 deaths), Rail (891 deaths), Pipeline (10 deaths), and Marine (615 deaths).