15 Passenger Vans: Should Churches Buy 15 Passenger Vans or Should They Consider a Church Bus
15 Passenger church vans come with a lot of flexibility and danger when you need to transport a lot of people.
Before you plan your next church-sponsored event and pile your youth group in a 15-passenger van take a few things into consideration.
Transportation Safety is not at the top of most church leaders’ agendas.
This article explains how much insurance coverage your policy covers and the laws that protect you from injury on these vans.
Table of Contents
What are the Laws Regarding 15 Passenger Vans?
Federal law requires all passenger vans to have seat belts for all passengers.
The federal law that requires all passenger vans to have seat belts for all passengers is necessary to protect the public. These vans can pose a safety risk to inexperienced drivers and other road users. All passenger vans must have seat belts for all occupants.
Van drivers are required to check tires and ensure they are at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure levels. Of the 235 people killed in passenger van crashes from 2010-2019, 69% were not wearing a seat belt.
Federal studies and recent laws have led to stricter seat belt regulations for 15-passenger vans. Recent headlines show that 15-passenger vans are a high risk for rollover accidents.
The lack of seatbelt use, improper driver selection, and passenger misconduct are all factors in these accidents.
Church Insurance companies are rethinking their auto insurance coverage for organizations that use these vans by implementing more rules and restrictions.
Every organization has the responsibility to ensure the safety of its passengers. It is important to drive safely and have a responsible driver who can properly maintain control of the vehicle and passengers at all times.
15 Passenger vans must also have side-impact and rollover protection.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA recommends that 15-passenger vans be used by a qualified driver when transporting church members such as taking older adults to senior communities, providing rides to preschoolers, and attending large sporting events.
Overloaded vans increase the risk of rollover, making the vehicle more unstable, and require greater attention to tire maintenance, passenger loads, and road conditions. The new 15-passenger vans come equipped with safety technology such as tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) to help prevent rolling over. Older vans without this technology are at a higher risk of rolling over.
Drivers and passengers need to be careful when using these vans, especially if they are not familiar with them. While it may be tempting to buy an older 15-passenger van we recommend for your church consider a used small church bus instead.
Passenger vans must be equipped with rear-view mirrors, turn signals, and brake lights.
Passenger vans must be equipped with rear-view mirrors, turn signals, and brake lights. Drivers should also screen passengers before they get behind the wheel.
Training in the use of passenger vans should be a requirement, and drivers should repeat the training every 2-3 years.
All passenger vans must be equipped with rear-view mirrors, turn signals, and brake lights. The driver should never speed and should always slow down if roads are wet or icy.
Drivers of 15-passenger vans must have a valid driver’s license and insurance.
Some states like California require drivers of a 15-passenger van to have a class B license with a P endorsement added to their license. It is critical to check your local laws and confirm the requirements of your state.
Your church property insurance and/or church liability insurance company will typically offer commercial auto insurance for your vehicles. However, church insurance companies will not accept 15-passenger vans that are 20 years or older.
15 Passenger vans must be registered with the DMV and May Require State Highway Patrol Annual Inspections.
The laws regarding 15-passenger vans vary by state but generally require that the van be registered with the DMV and have certain safety inspections annually. Your state Highway Patrol may be required to conduct an annual safety inspection confirming proper vehicle maintenance has been completed.
Drivers of passenger vans must follow laws and risk management recommendations.
The list of some traffic laws and risk management recommendations drivers of passenger vans must obey is as follows:
- Inspect tires and check the pressure prior to driving the vehicle each day
- Screen drivers before they get behind the wheel (Should be at least 25 years old and under 70 years of age)
- Drivers must be properly licensed and have safe driving records
- Training in the use of 15-passenger vans is a requirement
- Seat belts must be worn at all times
- The rear seat should be removed to make sure that passengers are seated in front of the rear axle
- The number of passengers should not exceed nine
- Drivers must not carry anything on the roof or tow anything behind the van
- Cell Phones should be stored away from the driver at all times
- Passengers should remain calm, quiet, and in their seatbelts at all times.
- Drivers are not allowed to drive at night, between midnight and 6 am, or during rush hour
- Always obey the posted speed limits
- Increase vehicle spacing to allow for additional space to stop
- Luggage should be minimized to keep the weight down.
- Drivers should only drive for 8 hours or less per day
What are the safety concerns with passenger vans?
1. There have been a number of accidents involving passenger vans.
There have been a number of accidents involving passenger vans in recent years. The primary safety issues with these vans are ejection and collisions.
Passenger vans are dangerous in crashes because of their design. Seatbelts are important for passenger vans, but many people especially middle schoolers and high schoolers neglect to wear them.
Passenger vans are a high-risk type of vehicle to drive, and experienced drivers can easily lose control in a crash.
Tire failure is a common cause of accidents involving large passenger vans. Improperly inflated tires can be a dangerous issue, and old tires can also be a danger as they can disintegrate under the increased weight of the vehicle.
The safety features of buses make them a much safer option than passenger vans.
2. Passenger vans are often not as well-equipped as other vehicles when it comes to safety features.
Passenger vans are often not as well-equipped as other vehicles when it comes to safety features. The primary safety concerns with 12-passenger vans and 15-passenger vans are the ejection and death of passengers.
Purchasing a van because of the price is not always a wise decision, especially when safety is concerned. Passenger vans are dangerous and susceptible to tipping and rolling over.
Seatbelts are critical for passenger safety, but many passengers neglect to wear them. Passenger vans have a high center of gravity and a narrow wheelbase, which makes them prone to accidents.
Tire failure is a common issue with passenger vans, leading to 11% of fatal accidents. Buses are the safest mode of land transportation, and passenger vans are the second-safest mode.
3. There is a risk that 15-passenger vans could roll over if they are not properly loaded.
To avoid rollover risk, 15-passenger vans should be loaded evenly and with care. Overloading the van or placing items on the roof can increase the risk of rolling over, especially if the tires are not properly inflated or if the road conditions are poor.
Drivers should be properly trained and certified before operating a 15-passenger van, and all passengers should be wearing seatbelts.
4. If you are involved in an accident while riding in a passenger van, you could be at risk of serious injury or even death.
When riding in a passenger van, you could be at risk of serious injury or even death if involved in an accident. This is because passenger vans are often overloaded and have low seatbelt use rates. Improperly inflated or sized tires also increase the risk of rollover accidents.
Incorrectly loaded cargo is another major cause of rollover accidents. Van accidents often involve inexperienced drivers, improper driver selection, and passenger misconduct.
There are many risks associated with riding in a passenger van, so it is important to be aware of these dangers before getting into one. Always wear a seatbelt and make sure the van you are riding in is not overloaded.
Integrity Now Insurance Brokers specializes in church insurance and helps churches with obtaining the needed liability insurance protection. If your church owns a 15-passenger van and/or church bus we recommend adding an umbrella policy.
What is the Church Insurance Situation with Passenger Vans?
15-passenger church vans: The law
15-passenger vans are increasingly becoming riskier for accidents, which in turn affects insurance rates for churches that use them. The vans are popular among churches because they’re able to transport large groups of people easily.
Church insurance companies require churches to comply with their local laws before they will consider offering 15-passenger van insurance coverage. This means the church must have a properly licensed driver prior to the insurance company offering commercial auto insurance protection.
15-passenger church vans: Safety
15 passenger vans have been involved in a number of fatal accidents in recent years, with many of the fatalities being passengers who were ejected from the vehicle. The lower price of 15-passenger vans may tempt churches to buy them despite safety risks. Often other churches will give their large vans away as they struggle to afford the insurance premiums and find it difficult to insure.
The mechanic will need to certify the tire tread, mechanical parts, brake pads and more are all in proper working order. Some mechanics may not feel comfortable with this added liability and may refuse to complete and sign off on this document.
15-passenger church vans: Insurance
Passenger vans have become less popular in recent years due to the increasing number of accidents and lawsuits associated with them. As a result, the insurance industry is moving towards not insuring passenger vans.
This means that churches that continue to use passenger vans may face high premiums and increased scrutiny when they attempt to insure their vehicles.
15-passenger church vans: Cost
15 passenger vans have become much more expensive to insure and maintain in recent years. Many times, they have a lower sticker price than buses but can quickly become more expensive with higher insurance premiums.
15-passenger church vans: Training
Before buying a church or private school 15-passenger van, the church should consider the training requirements and other factors related to running a large passenger van.
To operate a 15-passenger van, drivers must have a commercial driver’s license and must be added to the church auto insurance policy. The training requirements for 15-passenger church vans vary depending on the manufacturer but may include safety and driving instructions.
15-passenger church vans: Requirements
15-passenger church vans insurance requirements vary depending on the particular make and model of the van, but in general, they will require at least comprehensive and collision coverage. $1,000,000 in liability protection should be the minimum auto insurance protection a church should buy.
15-passenger church vans: Insurance Tips
15-passenger van accidents can be heart-wrenching for your church community as they can involve a large number of serious injuries and fatalities all at once. While there is no full proof protection here are a few insurance tips for your religious organization;
- Limit usage of church-owned vehicles or employees only that are properly licensed
- Establish a vehicle safety and maintenance program
- Keep and update vehicle safety inspection logs
- Require vehicle inspections prior to driving
- Provide a vehicle inspection checklist that is included in each van and/or bus
- Vehicle logs should be turned in weekly or monthly to your vehicle manager to review
- Damage should be reported immediately and the vehicle should be condemned until fixed without exception
15-passenger church vans: Resources
The NHTSA website has information on how to safely use 15-passenger vans in case your church decides to use them. Our church insurance agency also has available resources we provide to our clients for 15-passenger church vans and other church-owned vehicles.
15-passenger church vans: Guidelines
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to insuring a 15-passenger church van.
- The van should have a weight capacity of 15 passengers.
- The center of gravity for a 15-passenger van moves to the rear when the load is increased from 5 to 10 passengers. This means that it is important to check the vehicle’s rollover safety features when filling it to capacity.
- Different insurance rates may be charged depending on whether the rear seat is left in or removed from the van.
- Church vans should have suspension stabilization devices to reduce the chance of them rolling over.
- Recent designs of 15-passenger vans include lengthened wheelbases and technological additions such as anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control; however, these updates have not been completely proven effective in preventing rollovers.
- Churches must require drivers to have a commercial driver’s license to operate 15-passenger vans and insurance companies prefer that drivers participate in mandatory training before operating a van.
- Drivers should be covered by the church’s or private school’s workers’ compensation insurance policy
15-passenger church vans: Best practices
15-passenger vans can be a tempting purchase for churches, but there are some risks associated with them that should be considered.
These vans are prone to rolling over when transporting a large number of passengers. To avoid this, auto manufacturers add extra length to the van’s body.
Following are some best practices to follow when buying a large church van:
- Purchase new vans equipt with the latest technology
- Implement proper driver training and licensing
- Clearly and regularly inform staff of the driving requirements to operate these vehicles
- Limit drivers to a select few (1 or 2 drivers max)
- Implement age requirements (No younger than 25 and not older than 70)
- Drivers must have a clean driving record with no tickets or at-fault accidents in the past 5 years
- Keep vehicle keys in a lock box to prevent unauthorized drivers
Church Insurance Companies Want Newer 15-Passenger Vans
15 Passenger Van Needs to be ten years or Newer
Church insurance companies are wanting to limit full coverage protection to church vans that are less than 10 years old.
Twenty Years or Older 15 Passenger Vans May be Declined by Church Insurers
There are several reasons why church insurers may decline to insure 15-passenger vans that are twenty years or older.
One reason is that these vans are more prone to rollover when filled to capacity. Another reason is that the design of the van is based on the 12-passenger van, which has problems when the passenger load increases.
Additionally, recent designs of 15-passenger vans include lengthened wheelbase and technological additions such as anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control, which may not be present in older vans.
Church insurance companies start to decline coverage for older vans once they are ten years old or older.
Churches Should Consider a Church Bus over a 15-Passenger Van
Small Church Bus Options
Small church buses typically hold 15 to 20 passengers. Because of their wider wheel base and design, small buses provide are a safer option for nonprofit organizations.
Medium Church Bus Options
A medium size church shuttle bus can hold as many as 30 passengers. They offer a variety of features to make your ride more comfortable, including luggage racks, comfortable seating, and climate control.
Large Church Bus Options
A full-size church bus can provide your ministry with up to 64 individual seats and include a wide variety of options including amenities like air conditioning, heating, TVs, and more – making them much more comfortable for longer trips.
What are the laws governing 15-passenger church vans?
Each state has its own laws governing larger passenger vans. It is critical to reach out to your DMV and inquire about the laws in your state.
What are the safety risks associated with 15-passenger church vans?
15-passenger vans have a higher center of gravity and a narrower wheelbase than other vehicles, which can lead to tipping or rolling over in a crash. Properly-adjusted seatbelts are essential for surviving a crash, and yet many passengers neglect to wear them.
Tire failure is a common safety risk associated with 15-passenger vans. In general, the NHTSA recommends against using 15-passenger vans to transport a large group. Overloading a van increases the risk of a rollover, and the van is more unstable in all handling maneuvers.
Older vans may not have the safety features required by law, so ministries must vigilantly check for these before purchase. The van should be properly maintained and driver training is essential to avoid accidents.
Call one of our church insurance agents to find out if the van you are considering is insurable.
What are the safety features of 15-passenger church vans?
Tires are one of the major risks associated with 15-passenger vans, as overloaded vans can increase the rollover risk and make the vehicle more unstable.
Newer 15-passenger vans come equipped with advanced safety technology that helps address these risks, such as automatic emergency braking, collision and lane departure warnings, stability control, and tire pressure monitoring.
Do Church Insurance Companies have Age Restrictions for Drivers?
Yes, many church insurance companies require drivers to be 25 years old or older and under the age of 70.
Importance of Working with a Church Insurance Agency
If your church is considering a school bus or 15-passenger vehicle for your church transportation we highly recommend calling to talk with one of our church insurance specialists.
Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is an independent insurance agency with access to numerous church insurance companies that specialize in working with churches.
We understand the risks churches face and have the insurance coverage to protect your church, daycare, or private school that is part of your church’s ministry.
We look forward to hearing from you so you can start saving money on your church insurance. 877-854-7396