A conversion van is a passenger van made in part by major automobile manufacturers but modified or completed by a van conversion company. Typically, these vehicles have been equipped with trim upgrades such as captain’s chairs, paneling, raised roofs, sofa chairs, and even television sets, fold-out beds, kitchens and bathrooms.
Unfortunately for the consumer, the conversion van industry frequently compromises the safety of these products. Many conversion outfits lack specialized knowledge in auto product manufacturing and are unaware of their safety obligations under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. When conversion companies add trim upgrades and other luxuries to a conversion van, they often take something else basic vehicle safety features.
Similarly, passenger vans – many of which can hold up to 15 people – are often unsafe, but are commonly used for church, youth sports functions and other group activities. In our practice, we have seen many crashes occur because passenger vans have a tendency to roll over and they are difficult to control in emergencies. Safety loopholes also exempt 15-passenger vans from critical safety requirements.