Hank Investigates: Unsafe Vans - WHDH-TV 7News Boston

Hank Investigates: Unsafe Vans

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Every one of these vans at Logan airport is about to pick up passengers, but in this surprise sting, a posse of Massachusetts state police is about to slam on the brakes.

Police to Van Driver: "It’s gonna be towed, okay?"

Police to Van Driver: "This is the out of service sticker""

These shuttle vans may be a low-cost way to travel in groups, but what you save in money, you may give up in safety.

Hank: "You're driving an unsafe van!

Driver: "Evidently I am."

Our investigation of these vans-for-hire reveals one out of three carrying passengers on Massachusetts roads right now fails inspection! And van drivers were not happy we were there to show you as one after another vans and drivers racked up violations!

Hank: “You're not gonna be able to pick up your passengers!"

Van Driver: "No I’m not."

Sgt. Charles Devin, MA State Police: "It has defective steering which could be catastrophic!" You won’t be able to pick up passengers with this vehicle today!”

Police scraped off their registration stickers--yanked them out of service--and towed the vans away. Last year, thirty-six per cent inspected passenger vans were ordered off the road!

Hank: “That’s a higher out of service rate than the national average.”

Trooper Baldwin Leon, MA State Police: “Yes it is.”

Hank: “What do you think about that?”

Trooper Baldwin Leon, MA State Police: “It's alarming.”

It's also dangerous. When this passenger van crashed into a tollbooth on the Tobin Bridge in 2008-13 people were hurt-the driver said he lost control when the brakes failed.

How bad is it? We found the US Department of Transportation rates van companies--and look: a third of the ones in Massachusetts--are unsafe!

What if these vans hit the highway--full of passengers?

This one had a chain holding up its tail pipe and an exhaust leak !

Inspector: "It's a critical item and it's in bad shape."

This van had no emergency exit!

Hank: "If this van were in a crash, what could happen?"

Trooper Calvin Butner, MA State Police: "Unfortunately possibly the people could get trapped inside because there is no way for them to get out!"

And even if the van is safe the *drivers may be dangerous! Police found this guy, and this one, without proper credentials! Even suspended licenses!

Hank: “What does that mean to passengers?"

Sgt. Charles Devin, MA State Police: “It means they better be careful as to which vans they get into."

Click here to check the safety record of a commercial van you're hiring in Massachusetts:

http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/PassengerSearch/SearchResults.aspx?LocationCode=2&LocationValue=MA&VehicleType=Passenger%20Van&keyword=&Submit=Find+Carriers

(Copyright (c) 2011 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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