White van man ‘not so crazy after all’ – IAM RoadSmart

10.01 | 27 June 2018 | | 5 comments

IAM RoadSmart has praised employers for helping to reduce the number of serious and fatal crashes involving van drivers.

DfT figures show that despite vans being the fastest growing type of vehicle – in terms of miles travelled – the number of serious and fatal crashes involving them is falling.

In 2016 (the most recent figures available) light goods vehicles travelled a total of 49bn miles – 10bn (22%) more than in 2006.

However, crashes involving vans have fallen from 15,593 in 2006 to 13,125 in 2016 (-16%) – with fatalities also falling, from 274 to 186.

IAM RoadSmart says the reduction is partly down to companies who employ their own drivers increasingly using ‘robust driver training and vehicle management programmes’.

The charity adds that ‘trial by social media’ has also been a factor – as companies cannot risk the reputational damage caused by bad driving in vehicles bearing their company logo.

IAM RoadSmart also points to figures which show that 37% of LCVs (light commercial vehicles) on Britain’s roads are less than five years old, compared to just 5% of all of Britain’s cars – meaning they are ‘far more likely’ to contain the latest in crash protection and active and passive safety features.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “It is heartening to see that van operators are more than ever taking their responsibilities to their drivers and the public seriously, and this is being reflected in a reduction in serious and fatal crashes.

“The increasing use of telematics means drivers and companies will be increasingly held accountable for crashes, so operators know it is in their interest, for both human and economic reasons, that they keep up this good work.”



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    One must also appreciate that the running of a van for commercial purposes is for any commercial enterprise a tax and excised duty perk where costs can be offset and as such one finds that commercial vehicles are generally replaced within 3 to 5 years. The period of the replacement depending upon the duration of purchase or hire plan. This is business taking full advantage of the taxation and excise duty rules and has therefore absolutely nothing to do with the improved safety aspects of it electronics etc. or for that matter any road safety concerns by the owners.

    This is unlike most cars that are bought by private monies and for private use and so no financial perks exist for them and the vehicle can be with that same owner for many years before it is replaced.

    So its not as being suggested that commercial owners are more concerned with road safety at all its merely the obtaining of a financial advantage and having to purchase or hire a new vehicle with some of the new safety devises already installed. Something that they can do nothing about.

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Driving a firm’s van compared to driving one’s own car is like the difference between scribbling a note with a cheap biro and writing a letter with an expensive fountain pen – the latter we do more slowly, with more care and concentration.

    Hugh Jones
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    The problem with white van man is 3 things.

    1. They are seated above others on the road and as such being so high believe they are safer, particularly if following close on a vehicle in front. Because they can see over the top or roof of others they believe they have sight ahead and perhaps that they can stop in the distance seen to be clear, notwithstanding that they may be only 10 ft from the rear of the vehicle in front. That they are not tailgating when they actually are.

    2. They have no internal mirror and so after overtaking another vehicle they have to rely on rear distance by their external ones only and as is well known the external ones don’t give anything like an accurate picture of what is behind relative to the close distance of the vehicle that they have just overtaken. As such they have a tendency to move back in as the H.C. suggests and actually cut into the safe space that the overtaking driver should have.

    3. I don’t think that some van drivers know the actual speed limits for the particular vehicle that they are driving or for the type of road that they are on. They should have available and in plain sight a list or notice as to the maximum speeds that some vehicles can do on different roads. Maybe they drive a single type of vehicle and should know its speed limit or maybe they drive others as well and have no information about speed limits made available to them.

    I am glad that they are not increasing in incidents or collision but fear its because of their poor reputation for road safety that other drivers attempt to stay well clear of them. I know that I do.

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    Do readers know that road crashes are not reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).

    So while I welcome the IAM report that highlights some positive moves, I wonder if the poorer performers would continue to win work from clients if their actual accident frequency rate (including road injury crashes) was publicly available.

    Peter Whitfield, Liverpool
    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

    Good driving by white van man is unusual enough to be quite noticeable when it happens, but unfortunately still seems to be the exception rather than the norm. The same applies to black cars manufactured in Germany (in my view anyway and usually from the view in my mirror)

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (1) | Disagree (3)

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