Thatcham and Euro NCAP launches van safety ratings

A new light commercial vehicle safety rating by Thatcham and Euro NCAP has shown that a sizeable number of vans on the roads are rated as ‘Not Recommended’.

Thatcham and Euro NCAP looked at 19 vans that represent 98% of van sales in the UK in 2019 and found the Renault Master, Nissan NV400, Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Movano and Fiat Talento came out with a ‘Not Recommended’ rating.

Three vans – the Ford Transit, VW Transporter and Mercedes Benz Vito – were rated as Gold. Five were given 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.”

2018 data shows that 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.

Unlike cars, van models almost completely lack Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that have significantly reduced car accidents and fatalities. Just 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.”