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Van Rollover Accident - Involving a Daycare

Submitted by jrlaw on May 21st, 2009

From the files of "here we go again:"

FOX6 is reporting that a 15-passenger van has rolled over in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While this may not be too terribly surprising (these vans rollover all the time - and we've commented before on just how hazardous passenger vans are - and how the manufacturers are entirely unwilling to change the design), the heartbreaking aspect of this story is this: the van was carrying nine children, ages 5-11, as part of an after school program.

View the picture of the van. Then thank your lucky stars that your child wasn't involved in something like this. Then wonder two things:

First - was it the driver of the van who took a corner too fast, or otherwise acting negligently? Given the surroundings in the pictures, the van appears to be in a neighborhood area, and couldn't have been traveling at more than 30-35mph. Certainly, taking a corner at these speeds would have caused a passenger van to tip, especially given the faulty design of the van.

Second - who's responsible for this accident: the driver, the daycare, or the van manufacturer? The answer: potentially all three. If the driver was negligently operating the vehicle (something that will require interviews with the children in the van at the time of the crash), the driver may be responsible. The daycare/after school program may also be responsible as these vans are known to be tip or rollover hazard. Why transport children in an unsafe vehicle? Third, it's well known these vans are of defective design, transferring liability to the van manufacturer.

Regardless, this event is a tragedy in all respects. Our well-wishes and sympathies to the families affected - and a pointed warning to parents with kids in daycare and after school programs regarding transportation.