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Van travel becoming safer despite increasing uptake

Serious and fatal crashes involving vans are declining in spite of vans being the fastest growing type of vehicle on UK roads in terms of miles travelled.

IAM RoadSmart says if you parked all the vans in the UK end-to-end, they would stretch 28 times the length of the A1

Latest Department for Transport figures, covering 2016, show that vans and light good vehicles now travel 49 billion miles a year on our roads – up 22% or 10 billion miles on 2006 figures, due to rising popularity of internet shopping and ‘next day delivery’ options.

However, over the last 10 years, crashes involving vans have fallen from 15,593 in 2006 to 13,125 in 2016, with fatalities reducing from 274 to 186 in the same year (DfT figures).

According to IAM RoadSmart, the reduction is partly down to van fleets increasingly using robust driver training and vehicle management programmes, as well as the rise in social media that means companies can no longer risk the damage to their reputation caused by bad driving in vehicles bearing their company logo.

Meanwhile, SMMT data shows more than a third (37%) of LCVs 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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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has nearly 20 years of fleet journalism experience, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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