Last week, college wrestler Broc Pigorch and his team were on their way to participate in a tournament in Iowa. Pigorch never made it because, as officials would announce later, the team was riding in one of the most dangerous vehicles still plying our roadways – the 15-passenger van.
According to an article posted on a local TV news channel’s Web site, the team was traveling in a 15-passenger van when they swerved to avoid hitting a car that suddenly braked. Now, other athletic teams are wondering if they are taking a risk by putting their teams in one of these vans, which has been well-known among safety experts as “a death trap on wheels.” Well, all these college coaches can stop wondering because – yes, 15-passenger vans are big-time death traps!
This tragedy was probably overlooked by national news media because it happened around the same time when seven members of a basketball team and their teacher died when their 15-passenger Ford van crashed on an icy Canadian freeway. These vans are unstable, badly designed and simply dangerous. They should not be on the road in the first place.
The U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released several warnings about 15-passenger vans, but they are still going unheeded especially by universities and colleges who, in a rush to save a little bit of time and money here and there, put the lives of their students in grave danger.
One university football coach is quoted in an article saying that his university has “rolled the dice” many times and is thankful that not big tragedies have occurred with this team. Well, Mr. Coach, it’s not a matter of if it will occur, but when it will occur. Is it worth the risk?
There is no question that colleges, universities, church groups and even child care centers that use these 15-passenger vans must be given a wake-up call so they open their eyes to the dangers of using these vehicles and stop doing so. And the best way to go after them is to hit them with a lawsuit. When a college loses money, millions of dollars, do you think they’ll remember it the next time they roll out one of these vans on a road trip? You bet!
What is appalling in the case of these universities is that they use these vans when they know it’s dangerous and that is the worst kind of callousness and negligence.