Fifteen-passenger Vans/Non-conforming Vans
All fifteen-passenger vans in the UTC Motor Pool were converted to eight- or nine-passenger vans by removing the back two bench seats. The UT Senior Associate Vice President deemed this necessary for safety reasons. Fifteen-passenger vans were phased out and replaced with twelve-passenger vans with a shorter wheelbase to provide campus personnel with a safer vehicle.
When a fifteen-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. A Department of Transportation study analysis of crash databases and measurement of rollover propensity metrics indicated 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. The analysis showed that fifteen-passenger vans with ten or more occupants had three times the rollover ratio than those with fewer than ten occupants.
Reference: University Risk Management and Insurance Association Report, March/April 2001