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Pre-2005 Vans to be banned as of Sept 1

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From our Council newsletter:

Fully loaded 15-passenger vans, like those some to transport Scouts to camp, can be more dangerous than you might think. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says 15-passenger vans with 10 or more occupants are three times more likely to roll over than those carrying fewer than five passengers.

 

That’s why all Scouters should take heed of this breaking BSA news: Effective Sept. 1, 2015, the use of 15-passenger vans manufactured before 2005 will no longer be allowed in connection with Scouting programs and activities. 15-passenger vans manufactured in 2005 or later may be used, as long as they are equipped with Electronic Stability Control and seat belts for all passengers and the driver.

 

This applies to all vehicles, regardless of ownership (privately owned, owned by chartered organization, rentals, etc.).

 

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I suspect this is a reasonable decision. My issue is the lack of supporting information to go with it. It's almost certainly true that it wasn't just "Oh, look at what the NHTSA says, we should ban these. Likely there is somewhere either a white paper examining all the issues or a communique from an insurer giving a more detailed explanation. But the BSA (like most large organizations) underestimates the abilities of its members to understand real information, and rather than share the full reasons why it does something says trust us we know what's best, but you poor simpletons couldn't really understand it, now run along and play like good children.

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I suspect this is a reasonable decision. My issue is the lack of supporting information to go with it. It's almost certainly true that it wasn't just "Oh' date=' look at what the NHTSA says, we should ban these. Likely there is somewhere either a white paper examining all the issues or a communique from an insurer giving a more detailed explanation. But the BSA (like most large organizations) underestimates the abilities of its members to understand real information, and rather than share the full reasons why it does something says trust us we know what's best, but you poor simpletons couldn't really understand it, now run along and play like good children.[/quote']

:rolleyes:

 

Or they realize we're almost all smart enough to put 2 and 2 together and realize that the insurance carrier said nay-no to these vans.

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Another possibility is that BSA believes we can use the Internet.

 

First safety warning - 2001

 

On April 9, 2001, NHTSA issued a “consumer advisory†cautioning users of 15-passenger vans of an increased risk of rollover under certain conditions. Based on analysis of rollover propensity carried out by the Agency’s contractors, NHTSA warned that the risk of rollover increased “dramatically†as the number of occupants 5 increased from fewer than 5 occupants to over 10 passengers.3 According to analysis, 15-passenger vans were three times more likely to roll over in single vehicle crashes when the vans were occupied by 10 or more occupants. It noted that “it is important that these vans be operated by experienced drivers.â€Â

 

. . .

 

Because of the “package layout†of the 15-passenger van, as occupants load into the van, they tend to cause the center of gravity to both get higher and move rearward. This combination is especially treacherous. In real life, the vehicle becomes more tippy and more likely to fishtail. Dangerous stability problems, not noticeable to average drivers, become all too apparent in emergency steering situations such as a sudden failed tire at highway speed. A sharp 180-degree turn in an emergency is expected behavior, and even advised in the General Motors van owner’s manual, but few vans have ever been tested to see if they can safely conduct such a steering maneuver. Fishtailing occurs when the maximum lateral friction capacity of the rear tires is reached. Because current 15- passenger vans are equipped with single rather than dual rear wheels, they do not have adequate rear traction when fully loaded to safely perform emergency steering maneuvers without the danger of fishtailing. A van fishtailing is not under control, and has increased the likelihood it will overturn. The more heavily loaded, the greater the gravity shift, and thus the higher the likelihood of tragic consequences. "

 

 

9th safety warning regarding 15-passenger vans - 2013

 

[h=1]Consumer Advisory: NHTSA Reminds Drivers of 15-Passenger Vans to Guard Against Rollover Crashes During the Warm-Weather Driving Season[/h]

NHTSA 09-13

Friday, April 12, 2013

Contact: Karen Aldana, 202-366-9550

WASHINGTON – As the summer driving season gets under way, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is again reminding all 15-passenger van users to take appropriate precautions to guard against the possibility of a tragic rollover crash.

Recognizing that 15-passenger vans are particularly sensitive to loading, the agency warns users never to overload these vehicles under any circumstances. NHTSA research shows overloading 15-passenger vans both increases rollover risk and makes the vehicle more unstable in any handling maneuvers.

NHTSA research shows there is a greater risk of rollover because many drivers lack experience driving the larger vehicles. Because 15-passenger vans handle quite differently than smaller passenger vehicles due to their increased length and width, NHTSA recommends only experienced drivers familiar with their handling should operate them.

Improperly inflated tires are another common contributor to rollover crashes. A recent NHTSA survey estimates that 30 percent of 15-passenger vans have at least one significantly under-inflated tire by 8 psi or more. Tire pressure can vary on front and back tires that are used for 15-passenger vans. This is why the agency urges vehicle users to make certain the vans have appropriately-sized and load-rated tires that are properly inflated before every trip. Taking into account the fact that tires degrade over time, NHTSA recommends that spare tires not be used as replacements for worn tires. In fact, many tire manufacturers recommend that tires older than 10 years not be used at all.

If you are planning to take a trip in a 15-passenger van this spring, here is a helpful list of safety tips to ensure the trip is a safe one:

  • Never overload the vehicle. Agency research shows overloading not only increases rollover risk but makes the vehicle more unstable in any handling maneuvers.
  • Make sure the vehicle is regularly maintained, and that drivers are properly licensed and experienced in operating a 15-passenger van.
  • Have suspension and steering components inspected according to the manufacturer's recommended schedule and replace or repair these parts as necessary.
  • Ensure that vehicles are equipped with properly sized and load-rated tires.
  • Check the tires for proper inflation and signs of wear or damage. Correct tire size and inflation pressure information can be found in the owner's manual and on the door pillar.

Finally, it is critical for passengers to wear seat belts on every trip. A disproportionate number – 88 percent – of people killed in rollover crashes in 15-passenger vans were not wearing their seat belts.

To learn more about 15-passenger van safety, visit http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Shoppers/Passenger+Van+Safety

Stay connected with NHTSA via: Facebook.com/NHTSA | Twitter.com/NHTSAgov | YouTube.com/USDOTNHTSA | SaferCar.gov

 

 

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So this is something that has been known since 2001 and 14 years later, the BSA develops a policy statement on it, and bans them as of September 1. Just call me cynical but it sure sounds like the BSA, which uses these types of vehicles quite often at their high adventure bases and council summer camps, has been slowly replacing pre-2005 vans out and will be getting rid of the last of them after this year's summer season.

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So this is something that has been known since 2001 and 14 years later' date=' the BSA develops a policy statement on it, and bans them as of September 1. Just call me cynical but it sure sounds like the BSA, which uses these types of vehicles quite often at their high adventure bases and council summer camps, has been slowly replacing pre-2005 vans out and will be getting rid of the last of them after this year's summer season.[/quote']

 

 

I don't know how to put this more gently. What evidence, in a lay sense to be sure, supports your conclusion?

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I don't know how to put this more gently. What evidence' date=' in a lay sense to be sure, supports your conclusion? [/quote'] I'd say that at the very least, it is a reasonable inference that the jury may draw from the facts, counselor.

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Objection sustained. Inferences must be supported by evidence from which a reasonable mind could draw the inference.. An inference may not be based upon an inference.

 

We have no idea what vehicles are in BSA's inventory, do we?

 

Bearing in mind that BSA's insurance is secondary to the driver's own insurance, consider this message from BSA:

 

15-Passengers Vans 15-passenger vans have made numerous headlines for fatality accidents involving the driving characteristics of these vehicles.

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continues to provide alerts related to 15-passenger vans. An October 2010 consumer advisory from the NHTSA provided the following safety tips for anyone planning a trip in 15-passenger vans:

 

• If you are an owner, make sure the vehicle is properly maintained.

 

• Owners should make sure drivers are fully trained and experienced in operating a 15-passenger van and are properly licensed

 

• 15-passenger vans are very sensitive to loading and should not be overloaded under any circumstances. Agency research has shown that overloading not only increases rollover risk but makes the vehicle more unstable in any handling maneuvers.

 

• Owners should make sure that properly sized tires are being used on their vehicles.

 

• Before every trip, drivers should check the tires for proper inflation, and make sure there are no signs of wear. Correct tire size and inflation pressure information can be found in the owner’s manual.

 

• If you are a passenger, make sure you buckle up for every trip.

 

 

15-passenger vans have a higher center of gravity which makes them susceptible to rollovers. Many of the accidents resulting in serious injuries and death involve tires with improper air pressure. Other causes include driving off the pavement on the shoulder and overcorrecting the steering and causing the vehicle to rollover. Many of the fatalities are caused by people being thrown out of the vehicle during a rollover because they were not wearing their safety belts.

 

Many churches and other organizations keep the older 15-passenger vans, which mean they should be part of a regular maintenance program and tire-replacement intervals.

 

Several insurance companies will not provide liability insurance on 15-passenger vans if they are used in the transportation of certain groups of passengers. Transporting youth can fall into one of these noninsurable groups.

[emphasis added]

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*sigh* Ah, the good old days, when we were naïve and well meaning....

 

Waaaay back in about 197something, I was the designated driver for the American Youth Hostels in the DC area. The fellow that owned our van (yeah, he owned it, charitably loaned it to us and other groups) kept track of the maintenance and oil changes etc. I remember one particular trip, we were going out to the Shenandoah for a weeklong canoe camping trip. I was the take out and pickup fellow. I loaded up ten teens (not Scouts ) , all the gear, lashed 5 (five!) aluminum 17' Grumman canoes to the home made rack on the roof of the Ford E450 van (clamshell doors on the right side, motor right up next to the driver), and headed out, up and over the Skyline Drive, thru the Shenandoah National Park. Almost over heated on the uphill on US33. No seatbelts, just slow driving....

 

And ten days later, back to Harpers Ferry to pick them up, same thing.....

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My evidence? I suppose my only evidence is just the knowledge that the BSA commonly uses 15-passenger vans to transport crews and gear at their various high adventure bases (having driven them myself back when I worked for the Maine National High Adventure Base) and knowing (because I saw the long term MNHA budgets) that the typical replacement period is 10-12 years per van (which would still put the mileage, at least for the MNHA vans, well under 100K).

 

The rest is admittedly all cynical conjecture: 1) it's now 2015 which is the end of the rotation for any vans bought in 2003 and 2004; 2) The BSA is "thrifty" (read cheap) and wouldn't be likely to have replaced all pre-2005 vans all at once; and 3) September 1 seems an odd choice of policy date - maybe the new insurance coverage begins on September 1, but that would be awfully coincidental to the long-term camp and high adventure season ending just a couple of weeks before that date.

 

There is also the cynicism of just plain old common sense - if these vans are that much of a danger, and it's been known since 2005, and reiterated every year since then, including a warning in 2010 that insurance companies are no longer going to be insuring these kinds of vans for certain uses, which seems to have included the usage that Scouts use them for, why take so long to come up with this policy statement and why not make it effective immediately?

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Well Calico, that's all just fine but you have to admit that there is also a finite probability (however infinitesimal) that some BSA executive type accidentally dropped a slice of toast at breakfast and it landed, jam-down, on the newspaper and while he was trying to lick the jam off he noticed a small article about van safety and suddenly a clot was freed up in his brain and he remembered, OMG! we use those vans too! And he immediately called his subordinate, ordered the subordinate to issue the edict...and then turned his attention back to a big slice of cheesecake and a cup of coffee and his true passion for the only part of the paper worth reading in his opinion...the comics.

All of which is merely coincidental to the inference you just made.

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This is from the United Methodist Men page - " 15-Passenger Van Safety is big news these days.

Because of the safety risks involved, federal law prohibits the sale of 15-passenger vans for the school-related transport of high school age and younger students.

Many states have passed regulations limiting the use of these vans.

Many institutions have already set deadlines for discontinuing the use of 15-passenger vans.

The nation's leading insurer of churches has stated that "15-passenger vans are inherently unsafe as currently used by many owners." They highly encourage "all organizations to strongly consider other transportation options."

 

 

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