Mothers renew call to ban 15-passenger vans commonly used in after school programs

Two women whose sons were killed in a 15-passenger van crash four years ago in New Brunswick say the horrific collision in Ontario that killed 11 people reinforces their belief that the large vehicles are “death traps.”

Isabelle Hains and Ana Acevedo issued a statement Tuesday saying the vans offer no protection to passengers because they were originally designed to carry cargo, not people.

“It scares me that these vehicles are still on the road and that the government doesn’t take the initiative to ban these vehicles because they are death traps,” Hains said in an interview.

“There were a lot of things that went through my mind last night; the memory and the loss of my son, and the boys, and other families that lost their children in 15-passenger vans.”

Hains’s 17-year-old son Daniel was among seven high school basketball players killed in January 2008 when the 15-passenger Ford Econoline they were in collided with a transport truck on a slushy highway near Bathurst. Acevedo’s 17-year-old son Javier also died in the crash, as did the wife of the team’s coach.

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Northern Alberta rollover kills 1, injures 6

van rollover

A 17-year old boy died in northern Alberta after a passenger van carrying seven people rolled off a rural road Tuesday.

The van drove into the ditch and rolled at least once while traveling in the rural area of Birch Hills County just after 7 p.m.

The van rolled near Spirit River, Tuesday.The Lethbridge-area teen was thrown from the van and died at the scene.

The 20-year-old male driver was trapped inside the van and had to be extricated by firefighters before being airlifted to hospital in Grande Prairie with serious head injuries.

The other five passengers were taken by ambulance with various injuries.

None of the occupants of the van were wearing seatbelts, said police.

The teen was in the Spirit River area for a wedding, said police.

The driver and other passengers are all residents of Birch Hills County, about 500 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

The cause of the rollover is still under investigation.

Original Article

15 Passenger Van Rollover Report

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Ontario crash kills farm workers and raises questions about passenger van safety

Passenger Van Rollover

Some of the Peruvian farm workers who died in Monday’s horrific 11-victim crash had not even been in Canada long enough to collect their first week’s pay. The collision in Perth County — one of the deadliest ever in Ontario — has ripped 10 migrant workers and a truck driver from their loved ones. Three others are in hospital.

We still don’t know all the details and we many never know all the facts that contributed to this deadly crash. But we do know the workers were travelling in a 15-passenger van. These are controversial vehicles, at best.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has long warned of the dangers of rollovers with this type of van. In 2008, after seven New Brunswick high school basketball players and a teacher were killed in one, a coroner’s inquest recommended that such vans be banned across Canada for student travel. Many states and at least three provinces — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec — have put restrictions on the use of these vans for schoolchildren.

The federal government was concerned enough to launch a safety review. The findings on how well these vehicles perform in a side impact crash — a key factor in Monday’s accident — have not yet been made public. But the review’s other testing found that vehicle maintenance and the driver’s skill in operating these larger vehicles were the primary concerns.

So are these vans the “death traps” that their critics claim? Or was this just a tragic accident that a different vehicle would not have prevented? As Ontario Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey said, “we have more questions than answers right now.”

Ontario should do more than offer condolences to the families who lost loved ones. It should commit to determining what, if anything, can be done to improve the safety of large passenger vans.

Original Article

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