Meet the team – Leo Roy

Name: Leo Roy.

Job Title: Fleet controller, service support team.

Explain your role in 10 words: Covering all aspects of fleet requirements.

What’s the best aspect of your job?Creating a positive working relationship with clients.

What’s the worst aspect of your job?Nothing – I love a challenge!

How long have you worked at Fleet Service GB? Five years.

What was your first paid job? Car valeting at a garage from the age of 14.

What’s your favourite car? The Batmobile.

What one thing would you like to achieve before you retire? To be financially free.

Outside of Fleet Service GB, what would your dream job be? A presenter on BBC TV’s Top Gear.

Who in the world would you most like to meet? Morgan Freeman.

What is your favourite way to spend a day outside of work? Socialising, chilling and having a great time.

If you won the lottery how would you spend the cash? Share with friends and family and, of course, travel the world!

Not a lot of people know that… I can hold a handstand for 10 minutes.

Scottish and Welsh Governments consult on vehicle emission crackdown measures and penalties

The Scottish and Welsh Governments are holding separate public consultations on proposals to reduce vehicle emissions and simultaneously improve air quality.

The Scottish Government has previously outlined plans to have four Low Emission Zones in place to address air quality in the country by 2020 – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The country’s first Low Emission Zone came into effect in Glasgow from December 31, 2018 and applies to buses only. The Zone will be extended to all vehicle types from December 31, 2022.

The newly published consultation, which runs until February 24, 2020, outlined proposed current and future town and city Low Emission Zone entry standards and the enforcement regime.

Meanwhile, road pricing, Clean Air Zones and/or Low Emission Zones and increasing the proportion of vehicles which are electric and ultra-low (ULEV) emission are all on the agenda as the Welsh Government runs a 12-wek consultation on improving air quality.

It is also working on a proposal for all new cars and light goods vehicles in the public sector to be ultra-low emissions by 2025 and where practicably possible, all HGVs to be ultra-low emission by 2030.

The Scottish Government is proposing that Low Emission Zone entry standards are Euro 6/VI for diesel vehicles and Euro 4 for petrol vehicles this follows the entry criteria for the existing London Ultra-Low Emission Zone and that being suggested by other English towns and cities planning Clean Air Zones.

However, the document makes clear that stricter Low Emission Zone standards could be introduced to meet the Scottish Government’s commitment to move to towards zero or ultra-low emission city centres by 2030 as part of the phasing out of the need to buy petrol and diesel engine cars and vans by 2032.

The proposed penalty for non-compliance with Low Emission Zone entry criteria is a ‘base level’ fine of £60 for cars, vans, minibuses and taxis reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days and £500 for HGVs, buses and coaches reduced to £250 if paid within 14 days.

However, in a move at variance with penalties in other town and cities across England, the Scottish Government is proposing a tiered surcharge option. For cars, vans, minibuses and taxis that could see a £120 fine on second contravention reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days and then incremental graduation up to a maximum of £5,000. For HGVs, buses and coaches a second contravention could incur a fine of £1,000 reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days and then a similar incremental graduation up to a maximum of £5,000.

It is also proposed that three contraventions in the same Low Emission Zone within a 28-day period would see the punishment increased by one tier in the penalty system. Low Emission Zone entry would be enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras at entry points.

Air pollution is claimed to be the largest environmental risk to the public’s health and Public Health Wales estimates it contributed to between 1,000 and 1,400 deaths in 2017.

Now ‘The Clean Air Plan for Wales, Healthy Air, Healthy Wales’ proposes a wide ranging series of new actions and commitments as a stepping stone to a new Clean Air Act for Wales.

On road pricing, Clean Air Zones and/or Low Emission Zones the consultation document says: “We will continue to review the role of vehicle access restriction, including whether road-user charging and banning of the most polluting vehicles has a role to play in reducing roadside levels of air pollution.”

The document also makes clear that toll roads as well as anti-idling legislation could be part of a move to “align the opportunities presented by Low Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones with wider transport policy initiatives in Wales”.

The document, which is open to consultation until March 10, 2020, continues: “Promoting a switch from petrol and diesel road vehicles to electric and other ultra-low emission power is an essential element of our approach to tackle transport CO2 emissions and reducing air pollutants.”

The Welsh Government has already pledged to invest £2 million by 2020 to help create a network of rapid charging points to enable long distance travel by electric vehicles throughout Wales.

Renault reduces fleet operating costs and breaks convention with new five-year car warranty

Renault has broken with mainstream motor manufacturer convention and launched a five-year warranty on all new cars.

Typically, European and most Japanese motor manufacturers have offered three-year new car warranties with only Korean marques Kia and Hyundai breaking convention with seven-year and five-year warranties respectively. However, Mitsubishi an Alliance partner of Renault, offers a five-year/62,500-mile warranty, while fellow Alliance partner Nissan offers a three-year new car warranty.

The new Renault five-year warranty, which will help reduce whole life operating costs for fleets, sees an increase from 36 months to 60 months of cover as standard for all passenger cars with unlimited mileage cover for the first two years and a 100,000-mile limit thereafter.

Introduction of the five-year warranty coincides with the launch of new models to the Renault range, including all-new Clio, all-new Captur, and the new all-electric Zoe.

The new Trafic Passenger and SpaceClass, people-carrying versions of the Trafic light commercial vehicle are covered by a three-year warranty, in line with all Renault LCVs, with unlimited mileage for the first 24 months, then limited to a total of 100,000 miles in the remaining year.

Speaking about the new five-year warranty Vincent Tourette, managing director of Renault UK said: “Renault is deeply committed to the quality and reliability of its products and this extended cover reinforces the confidence that both we and our customers have in our vehicles.”

As before, all new Renault models will be backed by a three-year roadside assistance package with a 100,000 mile limit for zero emission vehicles and new Koleos, and a 60,000 mile limit for all other models.

Employer action required to reduce fatal and serious crashes involving at-work drivers

Urgent employer action – including the publishing of fleet safety records – is needed to tackle the stagnation in the number of people killed or injured in collisions involving those who need to drive as part of their work, it is claimed.

Drivers and their employers, Government, the Health and Safety Executive and the police most “do more “to address the fact that there has been virtually no change in the number of fatal and serious injury road crashes on UK roads in the last decade.

That includes the number of collisions involving people driving for business, which has remained static, at one in four of all incidents, over the same period. In 2009 there were 5,442 serious and fatal crashes in Britain involving an at-work driver; in 2018 this had risen to 5,506.

Now road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, has highlighted its concerns about “a worrying lack of progress in driving down the number of work-related traffic incidents” highlighted in its latest white paper, ‘The Role of Business Drivers’.

The paper also highlights what IAM RoadSmart calls “some alarming practices and attitudes when it comes to employers and their drivers” including:

  • Nearly half of business leaders polled (49%) expect their employees to answer their phone at any time, including while driving for work
  • Just over one in eight employees who drive for work (13%) and more than one in 20 leaders (6%) consider the hard shoulder a safe place to take a work call
  • One in six UK employees who drive for work (17%) say they have been involved in an incident when driving for work due to a phone call from a colleague.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said in the report: “Employers need to do more to drive change across their workforce and to take their responsibilities to keep staff safe, particularly when they’re behind the wheel for business.

“The one thing you’d think businesses would sit up and take notice of is that there is a major bottom line issue. But it is simply going undetected. This is something we must change.”

Fleet Service Great Britain’s (Fleet Service GB) Achieve-branded programme of services includes Achieve Driver Management, a comprehensive online real-time and fully integrated safe driving programme that measures driver performance. It awards points against a wide range of parameters including points on driving licences and number and type of crashes.

Simultaneously, drivers can improve their record through a range of best practice parameters including self-selecting and completing four online ‘how to’ e-learning programmes a year from the many provided by Fleet Service GB such as driving on rural roads, reversing and manoeuvering.

The IAM RoadSmart report also highlights the issue of so-called ‘grey fleet’ drivers – those using privately owned vehicles for work-related journeys – with the sector increasing in size as employees opt out of traditional company cars in favour of cash allowances.

Irrespective of who owns a vehicle, if it is driven on a work-related journey the employer is legally responsible for staff health and safety.

Tony Greenidge, IAM RoadSmart’s business development director, said in the report: “The penny hasn’t dropped for many organisations that their responsibility for a ‘grey fleet’ driver is exactly the same as for a company car driver.

“If companies are expecting their employees to use their own vehicles for work journeys, they must ensure they are doing so safely and with appropriate guidelines, if they are to stay within the law.”

In what would be a “hugely transformative move”, he suggests that “serious consideration” should be given to forcing employers to declare and publish their fleet’s telemetry data to reveal their levels of safety, just as schools must publish SATS result and the NHS publishes surgeons’ performance data.

IAM RoadSmart has followed the likes of the Driving for Better Business campaign – now backed by the Highways Agency and previously supported by the Department for Transport in delivering improvements in work-related road safety – for road safety to be at the heart of procurement practice in UK industry.

It says that if a business cannot demonstrate a strong commitment to legislation compliance with regards to driving for work safety, then they run the increasing risk that they might be disadvantaged when bidding for contracts in both the private and public sector.

Mr Greenidge said: “Employers should be compelled to report on how they have reacted to telematics data, demonstrating that they have addressed patterns of poor driving with training and other driving-for-work policies. The data should be published in firms’ annual reports or as part of their CSR statement.

This would enable those seeking the services of companies with fleets, or company cars, or logistics firms, to choose only the safest businesses. Companies will compete to produce the best safety record – and attract the most lucrative contracts as a result.”

IAM RoadSmart claims responsibility for the “disappointing lack of progress in reducing the number of collisions involving people driving for business” must be shared between employers, drivers, Government, the Health and Safety Executive and the police as well as vehicle manufacturers.

It added that the Corporate Manslaughter Act introduced in 2007 was expected to underpin safer business driving and safer roads objectives – but to date, not a single person had been prosecuted or sent to jail under it in relation to death caused by a company car driver.

Mr Greenidge said: “Where there is clear evidence of poor driving behaviour no employer of a driver involved in an avoidable death while undertaking a business journey has been anywhere near a prosecution. It seems the legislation has proved difficult to apply.”

The IAM RoadSmart report is available at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jb43aiw83j8l2qk/IAMRS%20Whitepaper%20-%20v4.pdf?dl=0

FSGB chief cautions against an ‘electric revolution’ for fleets in 2020

Pundits across the global motor industry are championing electric vehicles claiming that 2020 will be a watershed year for plug-in technology.

But, Geoffrey Bray, executive chairman of Fleet Service Great Britain, believes that amid continuing political and economic uncertainty, fleets will be reluctant to ditch established petrol and diesel powertrains.

Below, he outlines his 2020 thoughts on the internal combustion engine versus plug-in vehicle debate. 

“Fleet operations are invariably the second largest figure in the expenditure column – after employees – for many business.

“What’s more in times of uncertainty – and that will continue in 2020 as the issues surrounding the country, notably Brexit, will not be resolved overnight by the newly elected Government – boards of directors invariably maintain the status quo.

“Pundits across the UK fleet market are championing 2020 as a potential watershed for plug-in vehicles with demand soaring, particularly due to company car benefit-in-kind tax rates on 100% zero emission models falling from 16% to 0% in 2020/21 and then rising to just 1% and 2% respectively in the following two financial years.

“However, despite politicians talking about a ‘climate emergency’, the challenges facing the UK are so enormous that it would take a brave fleet decision-maker and board of directors to plunge headlong into embracing plug-in vehicles.

“The electric vehicle market is embryonic. That is, in part, due to limited model ranges and lengthy manufacturer lead times for those that are available. However, it is often forgotten that electric vehicle battery technology is continuing to evolve and that means vehicle range is improving all the time.

“When businesses make significant investments they do so having, invariably, undertaken a root and branch review and concluded any risk is extremely limited and outweighed by the benefits. This is what pundits are forgetting in their rush to encourage fleets to embrace the electric vehicle revolution.

“The ‘big issue’ for me is residual value uncertainty. In recent years we have seen prices for used electric cars improve. But as new and facelifted models with enhanced batteries and therefore a higher mileage range are launched, residual values on ‘old’ models will plummet.

“In turn that means outright purchase fleets are exposed to a lower than forecast return on their investment. Similarly, contract hire and leasing companies will be just as exposed but are likely to turn to so-called ‘rate creep’ over a period of time in respect of monthly rentals to reduce their cash losses.

“As a businessman of almost 60 years standing – and still learning – the natural inclination amid times of uncertainty is caution.

“There remains other unanswered questions around electric vehicles – chargepoint infrastructure and multiple payment methods are two – so with residual values and therefore whole life cost uncertainty those chasing the electric dream in 2020 are likely to be disappointed.

“Conventional petrol and diesel vehicles will still enjoy dominance in 2020 compared to electric vehicles, in my opinion.”

Predictive vehicle maintenance solutions business-critical in 2020 to maintain ‘acceptable’ fleet downtime

Fleet chiefs have been warned that maintaining vehicle downtime at ‘acceptable levels’ will be a major challenge in 2020 with workshop capacity under pressure and increasing vehicle complexity proving to be a challenge for technicians.

The warning comes from the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) in its ‘Industry Outlook 2020’ report, which outlines how the fleet industry will be “rewired” over the next 12 months with ‘connected, electrified and digitised’ summing up the transitioning of the sector.

As new technologies revolutionise the fleet industry, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney concluded: “Our sector is in for a bumpy ride in 2020.”

Conversely the importance of managing vehicle downtime would, suggested the report, drive demand for predictive fleet maintenance solutions, which is one of the major reasons why Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) has developed its range of web-enabled, client-bespoke dashboards under its “inspire fleets to Achieve better” strapline.

The dashboards include Achieve Maintenance Management, which enables fleet decision-makers to drill down into the minutiae of vehicle pence per mile costs and vehicle servicing and maintenance data providing in-depth trend and predictive analysis and aiding compliance.

The BVRLA report said that the aftermarket was already “struggling” to keep pace with new technology including software driven parts and sensors meaning that workshops were having to spend more investment on equipment and technician training.

The report continued: “Manufacturers are not helping the situation because many of the latest vehicle repair methods are developed digitally rather than physically. What works on CAD (computer aided design) doesn’t always translate to the repair bay.”

As well as tooling up, the number of technicians trained to work with the latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and on electric and hybrid powertrains was limited.

The report, compiled based on the views of 20 industry leaders, said: “Most of our respondents said that repair and maintenance networks were keeping on top of the situation for the moment, but that the strain could grow as the new technology becomes the norm.”

Furthermore, said the report, the transition could not be happening at a “worse” time with dealerships closing and workshop capacity continuing to shrink as fleet vehicle contract extensions remained high meaning cars and vans required more maintenance and consequently spent additional time in garages.

Therefore, the report concludes: “Maintaining fleet downtime at acceptable levels, particularly during seasonal peaks for crashes and breakdowns, will be a major challenge in 2020.”

The report is available at: https://www.bvrla.co.uk/uploads/assets/7cfa334c-9ea2-4073-8464d2131df2070f/BVRLA-Industry-Outlook-2020-Report.pdf

Police step up Christmas drink-drive crackdown

Police forces nationwide will be stepping up patrols as they launch their annual festive season blitz against drink-driving and drivers have been urged to make safety their priority.

The advice comes as official figures show there has been no decline in the number of people killed through drink-driving in recent years.

What’s more, it has been calculated that a drink-drive conviction costs the average driver nearly £50,000 when all the immediate costs and longer-term consequences are taken into account.

A total of 250 people were killed in the UK through drink-driving in 2017, up 9% on 2016, when there were 230 deaths. It was also the highest number since 2009 when 340 people died, according to the latest data from the Department for Transport. Additionally, 1,380 people were seriously injured in drink-drive related crashes in 2017, the highest figure since 2009 (1,500).

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging party-goers not to take any risks with alcohol by taking one or two simple steps and remove the temptation to get behind the wheel at the end of an evening out: Agreeing a designated driver, pre-booking taxis or arranging to stay the night at a friend’s house.

The legal drink-drive limit in England and Wales is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100ml of breath. In Scotland the limit reduced in December 2014 and is now 50 milligrams. The penalty for a first drink-driving offence is a minimum 12-month ban, a fine of up to £2,500, and a prison sentence of up to six months. Refusal to provide a specimen carries the same penalty.

GEM road safety office Neil Worth said: “It is absolutely not acceptable to drive after drinking alcohol, and the figures show that more people are dying as a result of someone’s choice to drink-drive than at any time in the past decade. Don’t ever take a risk with drink-driving.”

Alcohol myth-busters

  • I’ll be OK after a good night’s sleep – not necessarily. Between 15 and 20% failed breath tests are from people who get behind the wheel the morning after drinking alcohol.
  • One drink means one ‘unit’ of alcohol – wrong, so counting the glasses you’ve had at the pub, at a party or at home is not a reliable indicator of how much alcohol you have consumed.
  • Coffee will sober me up after a few drinks – wrong. You may feel more alert, as coffee is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. But you’ll still have the same amount of alcohol in your system, however much coffee you drink.
  • Eating a heavy meal means I can’t get drunk – wrong. Food doesn’t prevent alcohol from being absorbed… it can slow the process down, but you’ll still have the alcohol in your system.
  • I won’t be impaired until I’ve had a lot to drink – wrong. Even small amounts will impair your judgement. Impairment starts with your very first drink.
  • I’ll see how I feel later before deciding whether to drive or not – wrong: plan early how you’re going to get home. Decide where you can safely leave your car, book taxis, or agree that you’ll stay on soft drinks. We tend not to make our wisest decisions when we’re a little merry – or worse.
  • I can avoid court and go on a course if I get caught, as it would be a first offence – wrong. There’s a mandatory 12-month ban, plus a hefty fine and a criminal record. Estimates show that a drink-drive conviction costs the average motorist nearly £50,000 when all the immediate costs and longer-term consequences are taken into account.

Meet the team – Teodora Byrne

Name: Teodora Byrne.

Job Title: Fleet controller, service support team.

Explain your role in 10 words: Processing vehicle-related fines and invoices whilst offering customer service to clients.

What’s the best aspect of your job? The large variety of people I get to talk to.

What’s the worst aspect of your job? The frustration when issues are out of my hands.

How long have you worked at Fleet Service GB? Three years and 12 days.

What was your first paid job? During my university days I used to be a German tutor for primary school aged children.

What’s your favourite car? 1969 Shelby Mustang GT 500.

What one thing would you like to achieve before you retire? Write a book.

Outside of Fleet Service GB, what would your dream job be? Forensic scientist or criminal psychologist.

Who in the world would you most like to meet? Oh my… so many to choose from! To name a couple: American singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the guitarist and frontman of the rock band Nirvana Kurt Cobain (hey, you didn’t specify dead or alive!) and actor James McAvoy.

What is your favourite way to spend a day outside of work? I love being outdoors, especially in forests. Otherwise a gig is always a good choice.

If you won the lottery how would you spend the cash? As I am sadly a (responsible) adult, the usual – buy a few houses around the world and travel as much as possible.

Not a lot of people know that… I have a fascination with killer minds!

New parking code giving 10-minute grace period in private car parks could ease fleet fine ‘nightmare’

Private parking firms will be required to give drivers a 10-minute grace period after their tickets expire as part of a Government clamp down on rogue car parks.

Managing fines relating to parking, particularly on private land, has been called by ACFO, the UK representative body for fleet decision-makers, “a legal, financial and HR administrative nightmare” for fleet decision-makers and company car and van drivers alike.

Earlier this year, the Parking (Code of Practice) Act became law building on action the Government had previously taken to tackle rogue private parking firms, including banning wheel clamping and towing and stopping over-zealous parking enforcement by councils and traffic wardens.

That legislation had been championed through Parliament by Conservative MP Sir Greg Knight to tackle some of the major issues related to the unregulated parking of vehicles on private land raised in recent years by ACFO, which also said that parking fines on private land was “one of the major issues facing fleet decision-makers.”

Under the Government’s proposals, a new Code of Practice is to be developed by the British Standards Institution to bring greater regulation to the private parking industry, making it easier for drivers to challenge unfair parking tickets.

In recent years the number of private penalty tickets being issued to drivers has soared. In 2008/9 some 690,000 penalties were issued, but the RAC Foundation estimates that in 2019/20 8.6 million penalties will be dished out – almost two million more tickets on private land in this financial year compared with last, a rise of more than a quarter – including many anticipated to be to company car and van drivers. The numbers are based on the volume of vehicle keeper records the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) is selling to parking companies which allows them to send demands to car owners – including fleets – often for £100 and sometimes more.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The volume of tickets being issued is now four and a half times what it was when clamping was outlawed back in 2012 and an astonishing 32 times more than it was in 2006 which is the first year for which the DVLA publishes data for. Whatever the outcome of the general election [on December 12] it must be a priority for the new Government to get a grip, quickly, of this out of control juggernaut.”

A 10-minute grace period was introduced for all council car parks in England in 2015, but is currently voluntary for private parking firms. Under the measures being considered, all private car parks in England, Scotland and Wales would have to give motorists up to 10 minutes before issuing a late fine.

Extra measures to crackdown on intimidating and aggressive debt collection practices by private parking companies will also be considered as part of the Code.

Unlike existing voluntary codes set by industry, the new Code will be mandatory and provide a single set of rules to follow. Rogue firms which break the Code will be barred from requesting DVLA data, making them unable to pursue motorists for their charges.

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “For too long rogue parking firms have operated in an unregulated industry, handing out unjust fines, putting drivers through baffling appeals processes and issuing tickets to motorists who were only seconds late back to their cars.

“That’s why we’ve appointed the British Standards Institution to work with consumer groups and industry to write the first ever compulsory Code of Practice for private parking firms.

“The new Code will restore common sense to the way parking fines are handed out, encourage people back onto our high-streets and crack down on dodgy operators who use aggressive tactics to harass drivers.”

The Code is also set to introduce a new independent appeals service, giving drivers greater support to challenge unjustified parking tickets.

The British Standards Institution will write the Code in consultation with consumer and industry groups. It will launch a full public consultation on the Code where all members of the public will be able to have their say on the new rules.

New vehicles to feature additional mandatory safety equipment from 2022 and van manufacturers have much to do to comply

All new cars and vans sold in the UK from mid-2022 must feature as standard a raft of safety technology including advanced emergency braking (AEB) systems, driver drowsiness and attention warning systems and event data recorders.

The technology, some of which will also be mandatory in sport utility vehicles, HGVs and buses, is to be fitted following European Council agreement.

Although the UK is destined to leave the European Union, the UK Government has already said that it will write European legislation into UK law following Brexit. 

However, just one-in-10 new vans on sale today features any of the lifesaving technology that is set to become mandatory, according to exclusive analysis by publication What Car? Vans. It has calculated that 88% of all new vans fail to meet any of the proposed European safety standards.

While some van manufacturers are fitting safety features, such as advanced emergency braking (AEB), the analysis of every van derivative on sale in the UK revealed that many top-of-the range examples come fitted with multiple safety features as standard, lower specification models typically do without the potentially life-saving technologies.

In adopting the regulation – European Parliament agreement came last March – the Council said the mandatory safety features to be introduced would provide increased protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users to significantly reduce the number of road casualties.

Under the new rules, all motor vehicles, including sport utility vehicles, vans, trucks and buses will have to be equipped with: Intelligent speed assistance, alcohol interlock installation facilitation, driver drowsiness and attention warning systems, advanced driver distraction warning systems, emergency stop signals, reversing detection systems, event data recorders and accurate tyre pressure monitoring.

Additionally, cars and vans will also have to be equipped with: Advanced emergency braking (AEB) systems, emergency lane-keeping systems and enlarged head impact protection zones capable of mitigating injuries in collisions with vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Speed limiters will still be voluntary so drivers don’t have to use them, but they could save their licence if they do.

“Although all new cars from 2022 cars will be enabled to have an ‘alcolock’ it will be up to the UK Government to decide how they are used. We see them as a useful tool for repeat drink-drive offenders to get them back to safe driving after a ban. It is very unlikely that the vast majority of the law-abiding public will ever have to blow in a tube to start their car.”

In addition to the general requirements and existing systems – such as lane departure warning and advanced emergency braking (AEB) systems – HGVs and buses will have to be designed and manufactured so that blind spots around the vehicle are significantly reduced. They will also have to be equipped with advanced systems capable of detecting pedestrians and cyclists located in close proximity to the vehicle.

The regulation is part of the European Commission’s third ‘Europe on the Move’ package, launched in May 2018.

What Car? Vans’ analysis found just 12% of all new vans on sale had one of the eight mandatory safety technologies as standard, while only one in five vans came with at least one of the eight as an optional extra.

Advanced emergency braking (AEB), which automatically applies the brakes if it senses an imminent collision, is standard in one-in five of the 228 new vans and pick-ups on sale in the UK. Studies by Euro NCAP, the European vehicle safety standards agency, previously found the technology reduced real-word rear-end collisions by 38%.

Other technologies, including lane keeping assistance, which automatically keeps vans on the centre of the lane, was available as standard in only 2% of all new vans on sale, and an optional extra in 18%.

Meanwhile, new technologies, including intelligent speed assistance, which helps drivers to avoid exceeding the speed limit, and automatically slows the vehicle down when the limit drops, is found in just 3% of new vans on sale, while crash-test improved seat-belts and accident data recorders are not fitted as standard to any van currently on sale in the UK.

Despite van drivers covering on average 13,000 miles a year driver distraction and drowsiness alerts were standard on just one-in-10 vans on sale, and an optional extra in 11%.

In 2012, Euro NCAP tested some of Europe’s best-selling vans and called on “manufacturers to offer these vehicles with higher levels of safety equipment” after many of the models tested were found to lack basic safety equipment such as electronic stability control (ESC).

Van manufacturers have since made improvements to driver, passenger and pedestrian safety. In the latest Euro NCAP tests, for example, the Ford Transit (pictured) achieved a top five-star rating.

Jim Holder, editorial director of What Car? Vans, said: “There are more than four million vans on the road today. Van drivers shouldn’t be waiting for legislation to come into force to have access to the latest safety technology as standard. Though the industry has made strides in recent years, it clearly still has a lot more work to do.” 

Share of safety technology found in new vans on sale

Technology

Not available

Optional Extra

Standard

Driver Drowsiness/Distraction Alert

79%

11%

10%

Intelligent Speed Assistance

88%

9%

3%

Reversing Camera

34%

47%

19%

Reversing Sensor

25%

36%

39%

Data Recorder in case of an accident

97%

3%

0%

Lane Keeping Assistance

80%

18%

2%

Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB)

41%

37%

22%

Crash test-improved seat belts

100%

0%

0%