By Mike Rush
VANDALIA, Ill. (KSDK) - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has repeatedly warned about the potential hazard of driving 15 passenger vans.
While we still don't know the cause of Monday's crash in Vandalia, 15 passenger vans have a bad reputation. St. Louis Community College won't even use them anymore.
It switched in 2002 to using only 12 passenger vans for transportation for athletes, students and faculty.
The community college took those proactive measures following a van accident in 2001. That accident involved the Lindenwood University men's basketball team. Nine people were injured. In that case, authorities say the driver fell asleep.
But still, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 15 passenger vans are prone to rollovers because there are so many people on board. Also, drivers are not required to have a special license to drive these large vehicles.
Too much risk for St. Louis Community College, which made the call to work them out of the line-up.
"Part of that was purchasing new 12 person vans, the other part was modifying the existing 15 passenger vans to carry only 12 persons and we did that by removing some of the seats," said DeLancey Smith, St. Louis Community College spokesman.
The NHTSA says improperly inflated tires are particularly hazardous in these vans.
Its survey estimates 30 percent of 15-passenger vans have at least one significantly under-inflated tire.