For decades, the ‘white van man’ has bore a tainted reputation for being an absolute pig behind the wheel.
However, it seems that they’ve been getting a bum deal after new research revealed they’re not actually all that bad after all.
Vans are currently the fastest growing type of vehicle on UK roads in terms of miles travelled, but the number of serious and fatal crashes involving them are falling.
According to figures from the Department for Transport, vans and light goods vehicles travel around 49 billion miles a year on our roads – 10 billion miles more than a decade ago, thanks to the popularity of internet shopping and next day delivery.
However, crashes involving vans have become less frequent, dropping from 15,593 in 2006 to 13,125 in 2016, with fatalities falling from 274 to 186 over the same ten-year period.
This change has been put down to companies carrying out robust driver training and vehicle management programmes. ‘Trial by social media’ has also been a factor as companies can no longer risk the damage to their reputation caused by bad driving in vehicles bearing their company logo.
In addition, over a third of light commercial vehicles on Britain’s roads are less than five years old compared to just five per cent of all of Britain’s cars. This means they are far more likely to come with the latest crash protection and active and passive safety features.
A spokesman from road safety group IAM RoadSmart 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.”
Stephen Hasley, brand manager at Petrol News, added: “Many people still have the white van man down as a villain, but the figures show that he’s really not that bad these days.”
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