As an increasingly attractive alternative to passenger cars, vans have some unsolved safety problems. Vans are exempt from some of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) major safety standards; often standards which apply to vans are less stringent than those for passenger cars. Because of differences in van designs, applicable standards can vary from one make to another; the potential van buyer has difficulty determining the safety requirements for a particular vehicle. The customizing of vans remains unregulated, lacking even general industry guidelines. Part of the problem stems from the fact that government regulators are unsure about how to classify vans. Consumer information standards covering data on vehicle stopping distance, acceleration, and passing ability, and tire reserve load do not apply to vans. Since a 1978 General Accounting Office report criticizing NHTSA for its failure to upgrade light truck standards, some changes have been made. In 1980, NHTSA amended Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 201, 203, 204, and 208 to cover all vans. This action will not correct all the safety deficiencies of these vehicles; other areas needing attention include brake performance, windshield retention, door jamming, additional interior padding, and vehicle override. A special study on multipurpose van safety by the National Transportation Safety Board in 1979 also supports the extension of additional safety requirements to these vehicles. All safety standards which now apply to cars should be amended to include light trucks and vans. Upgraded standards should take into account the different safety needs of light trucks/vans. A separate note comments on the increased use of vanpools, and the cost benefits and insurance aspects of this type of commuting. A second note provides tips on proper driving (steering, braking, backing) of a van.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Alliance of American Insurers

    20 North Wacker Drive
    Chicago, IL  United States  60606
  • Publication Date: 1979

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00384722
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-029 080
  • Files: HSL, USDOT
  • Created Date: May 30 1984 12:00AM