Alert - News Report:
A church van accident over the weekend in Hamblen County [Tennessee] is drawing attention to the safety of 15-passenger vans.It is an ongoing concern. In fact, federal law prohibits their use for school-related transportation.
"It can much more easily roll over and in a panic situation they won't handle like a car and people can find themselves off the road very quickly,' AAA East Tennessee Spokesman Don Lindsey explained.
And this from our neighbor to the north:
The federal government has launched a safety review of 15-passenger vans, such as the one that seven students and a teacher in New Brunswick were travelling in when they were killed in January 2008.
The vans are popular transportation for school boards, sports teams and daycare centres, even though they have a dismal safety record.
Several jurisdictions in Canada and the United States have already conducted safety reviews and found the vans inappropriate for carrying large groups of students.
According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, 1,100 people in the U.S. were killed in single-vehicle rollovers involving the vans between 1992 and 2002.
Reviews found the vans were three times more likely to roll over than any other vehicle.
Are government safety reviews effective? I don't know about Canadian government safety reviews, but here in America we must be aware of what's called regulatory capture (sometimes called interest group capture by political scientists). The serious problem, which infects the constitution and our form of government itself, is this: the agency charged with regulating and policing a particular industry is "captured" by that industry by way of personal influence, money, gifts, travel, information deluge, and partisan propaganda in the mainstream media (and increasingly in the new internet media).
A common scenario is for the particular industry to hire ex-employees of the regulatory agency, paying them much more than they earned as civil servants. You can see where that will go.
The problem was illustrated by my earlier post on What Happens in Vegas Need Not Stay in Vegas. Stay tuned...