This class is mandatory for all drivers (faculty, students, staff) of university owned or leased 12-15 passenger vans.
Between December 29, 1999 and February 14, 2000 five vans carrying college sports teams crashed, killing five students and injuring thirty-eight. In response to these accidents and increased publicity concerning large passenger vans, on April 9, 2001, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a "cautionary warning" to users of large passenger vans. Their study revealed that the rollover risk for vans with 10 or more occupants was three times greater than those with fewer than 10 occupants. In addition, large vans were seven times as likely as an automobile to roll over in a crash. In July of 2001, three 15-passenger vans carrying church groups in Virginia, Idaho, and Kansas crashed killing six and injuring twenty-two. In response to these accidents, increased publicity, and the NHTSA recommendation, on July 20, 2001, the Division of Risk Management in Richmond issued a "Risk Advisory" recommending that state agencies follow certain "best safety practices" when using large passenger vans. One of these recommendations was that all drivers of large passenger vans attend a defensive driving class, including a road test. This class is designed to be in compliance with the State's recommendation. The class is based on the National Safety Council's course on defensive driving for van drivers and will cover the following topics:
- differences between a van and a car
- reducing your risks while driving a van
- overview of defensive driving skills
- how to become a better driver
- Radford University policy on passenger vans
The class is 40 minutes long. In addition, a half-hour road test must be completed. Please contact the safety office to schedule this training.