In the late afternoon of a spring day, a day care van operator and a monitor loaded 16 children into a 15-passenger van. Carrying a total of 18 passengers in the 15-passenger van, the operator and the monitor proceeded to transport the children to their homes. After dropping off two children at their residences, the van was traveling 46-50 mph in the left hand lane headed east in a 35 mph zone on a non-divided four-lane state road. As the van approached a side street on the right, the right rear tire blew out and the van veered sharply to the left, crossing over two westbound lanes and striking a tree head-on. Witnesses called emergency services and began extracting the children, operator, and monitor from the van. All occupants were transported to local hospitals for treatment of injuries. The monitor died at the hospital; the operator and all other passengers survived.

To prevent future occurrences of similar incidents, the following recommendations have been made:

Recommendation No. 1: Daycare facilities that utilize 15-passenger vans should ensure operators are properly trained in safe vehicle operations.

Recommendation No. 2: Daycare facility owners should ensure company vehicles have routine maintenance and inspections performed.

Recommendation No. 3: Daycare employees involved in the transportation of children must follow all the transportation rules and laws that apply.

Recommendation No. 4: Kentucky daycare facilities should use alternatives to 15-passenger vans to transport children for the safety of the children and the daycare employees.

Recommendation No. 5: Kentucky should authorize one agency to oversee daycare transportation operations.

Recommendation No. 6: Manufacturers should improve the safety of 15-passenger vans, especially since they are often used to transport children.

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A summary of this case is available as the additional file listed below.

12KY026_Summary.pdf (21 kB)
Case Summary