Majority of commercial vans on UK roads not safe, according to new research

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Euro NCAP and Thatcham Research are urging van manufacturers to fit more lifesaving collision avoidance technology to their vehicles as standard after tests for a new Commercial Van Safety Rating revealed alarming results.

Out of 19 vans tested – representing 98% of new van sales in the UK in 2019 – the Renault Master, Nissan NV400, Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Movano and Fiat Talento all 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.”

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.

According to Thatcham Research, vans are almost completely devoid of the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that have been proven to reduce accidents when fitted to cars. 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.”

To highlight the extent of the problem and encourage wider fitment of ADAS technology, Euro NCAP and Thatcham Research have launched a new Commercial Van Safety Rating that assesses the performance and fitment of emergency braking, speed limiter, and lane support systems, as well as seat belt reminder technology. Safety tests will be conducted annually.

To find out more about the new Commercial Van Safety Rating, watch this video.

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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