Light commercial vehicle drivers are among the safest on the road, according to research by telematics company Quartix, belying the stereotype of ‘white van man’ as the scourge of the highway.
Contrary to public perceptions, Quartix found that accident rates associated with lcvs are significantly lower than they are for cars.
In 2015 it claimed there were 1.5 times as many accidents involving injury for every 1,000 cars (just under six) as for every 1,000 lcvs (just under four).
Quartix added that vans average 20,000 miles on the road every year compared to 8,000 for cars – meaning their drivers are far more experienced – and that there are 3.8 times as many serious accidents per every 100,000 miles travelled in cars as there are in vans, rising to six times as many for young car drivers.
When explaining why van drivers are safer, Andy Walters, Quartix’ boss, told What Van? “These guys do it for a living.”
He said that while insurance premiums for lcv drivers are similar to those of young drivers, premiums for vans are driven up by lots of small claims for minor dents and dings sustained during working assignments, rather than by major claims.
Walters argued that it’s important for lcv operators to keep their vehicles functioning because time off-road affects their livelihoods.
“It can be expensive [if a van is off road], it’s a purpose-built vehicle.
“Vans are specific to needs,” he said, “so you have to keep them in good condition. You can’t get a like-for-like replacement.”
Put simply, he said if van drivers lose their vehicles they could be “out of a job”.
Quartix said young drivers travelling on rural roads are most at risk of having serious accidents, due to ‘inappropriate’ speeding and inexperience. It pointed out that the national speed limit of 60mph on rural roads is usually too fast for safe driving under the conditions and that so called ‘professional drivers’, such as van drivers, average around 40mph on such roads.