Features & Interviews

Demand from fleet operators and buyers will boost the drive for better van safety

21 September 2023 #Features & Interviews

There are now some 5 million vans on UK roads – they are the most popular class of commercial vehicle. Vans are also involved in more fatal collisions that affect other road users per mile travelled than any other type of vehicle – even more than HGVs.

Vans – reducing the risks

We all know how ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) is improving car safety, helping to avoid crashes occurring or reducing the severity of collisions.

We now need fleet operators to demand the same high standards for their van fleets.

If a company provides a lathe as a piece of work equipment, employees would reasonably expect all the relevant safety kit to support its use. The same must surely apply to vital equipment on a work van.

What van buyers should look for:

  • AEB – autonomous emergency braking – using a radar or a camera or a combination of both identify if the driver is responding and if they don’t put the brakes on automatically, so stopping front-to-rear crashes – the most common urban crashes. It also detects pedestrians and cyclists in front, helping to prevent collisions.
  • Lane-keeping support systems – crashes occur because drivers are momentarily distracted and their vehicle crosses over a white line into another car, a solid object or crosses the centre line.
  • Speed limiters that remind the driver to control their speed – also helps drivers keep a clean licence

Case study – Auto Windscreens

Auto Windscreens is one company to take its driver and vehicle safety seriously.

It repairs and replaces automotive glass for all types of vehicles. It also undertakes Advanced Driver

Assistance System (ADAS) calibrations following windscreen replacements, to ensure technology such as forward-facing cameras, lane departure or speed recognition sensors continue to operate correctly. It has 390 LCVs and 50 company cars.

It recently upgraded from Transit Custom vans to the Transit Trend, which offers far greater driver comfort. They are also equipped with ADAS technology, including emergency braking, lane assist and speed sign recognition.

Business Support Director, Shaun Atton, says this has worked well on many levels:

  • Better staff retention
  • A greater sense of pride and ‘ownership’ in the vehicle
  • Drivers seeing the vehicle as their ‘place of work’
  • A more attractive recruitment offer
  • The on-road benefits of ADAS.

“Road safety is important to us for a number of reasons. Primarily we want our staff to be able to work in a vehicle suitable for their task, to do their job in comfort and return home to their families safely in the evening. Likewise, we want to help protect other road users and the general public, as we focus on fixing glass damage and getting our customers back into their vehicles.”

There’s a large resource of information available to fleet managers and van drivers at https://vandrivertoolkit.co.uk/

Driving for work is one of the highest-risk activities that many employees undertake, whether they drive a commercial vehicle, a company car or make occasional work journeys in their own vehicle. As the gig economy continues to grow, this also means those who ride for work as well as those who drive.

Driving for Better Business is a free to access government-backed National Highways programme, delivered in partnership with RoadSafe, to help employers in the private and public sectors reduce work-related road risk, protecting staff who drive or ride for work, and others who they may share the road with.

Its mission is to improve safety and reduce risk or all those who drive or rid for work by promoting good management practice and demonstrating significant business benefits.

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