This article was taken from Driving for Better Business – How safe are your vans?.
New Van Safety Rating launched by Thatcham Research and Euro NCAP. Mathew Avery explains why 5 vans failed to achieve even the lowest award.
Van manufacturers are being urged to fit more lifesaving collision avoidance technology to their vehicles as standard after tests for a new Commercial Van Safety Rating revealed some alarming results.
Out of 19 vans tested – representing 98% of new van sales in 2019 – the Renault Master, Nissan NV400, Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Movano and Fiat Talento all disappointed and emerged with a ‘Not Recommended’ rating.
Only Volkswagen’s Transporter, the Ford Transit, and the Mercedes-Benz Vito were awarded a ‘Gold’ rating. Five others were rated ‘Silver’ and six ‘Bronze’.
Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research Director of Research, said: “This first batch of test results show the fitment of crucial safety technology on vans is woefully low. It’s a serious issue that needs addressing urgently, particularly with van numbers increasing and the continued surge in demand for home deliveries during the pandemic and before Christmas.”
Data from 2018 showed vans were involved in more accidents that resulted in fatal injuries to other road users, per mile travelled, than any other type of vehicle on the UK’s roads. Between 2013 and 2018, collisions involving vans were responsible for a 14% increase in the number of serious injuries to pedestrians, car occupants, and van occupants. Cyclist casualties also rose by 22%.
Vans lag behind cars
Vans, which are often the subject of a commercially-driven purchasing decision, are almost completely devoid of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that have been proven to reduce accidents when fitted to cars. This begs the question: what price do vehicle manufacturers put on the safety of van drivers and other road users?
Only 12.8% of new vans were fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) technology as standard in 2019, compared to 62% of new cars.
“There is a definite lack of parity between the levels of collision avoidance technology on vans compared to cars,” Avery explained. “Modern cars have lots as standard, but vans have barely any. Brands are making a clear decision not to fit this important technology as standard and van operators are not even buying it as a cost option.
“The lack of parity even exists within the same manufacturers. Take Renault, for example. Its five-star-rated Clio has lots of standard fit Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technology that can save lives. But its Trafic van has practically nothing, not even as an option.”