Safety Policy: 15 passenger vans/ non-conforming vans
All 15 passenger vans in the UTC Motor Pool were converted to 8 or 9 passenger vans by removing the back two bench seats. The UT Senior Associate Vice President deemed this necessary for safety reasons. 15 Passenger vans were phased out and replaced with 12 passenger vans with a shorter wheelbase, hence a safer vehicle.
When a 15-passenger van is fully loaded with passengers the weight shifts to the rear wheels. This can cause the driver to experience an under-steer situation which could cause the van to roll over. DOT (Department of Transportation) study: Analyses of crash databases and measurement of rollover propensity metrics indicate that fifteen-passenger vans might be more likely to roll over when fully loaded with occupants than when lightly loaded. For all occupant loadings, fifteen-passenger vans have an overall rollover ratio comparable to that of light trucks and vans. Analysis considering the number of occupants in the vehicle showed that fifteen-passenger vans with ten or more occupants has three times the rollover ratio than those with few than ten occupants.
URMIA Report: University Risk Management and Insurance Association March/April 2001