CommercialFleet

Security: Keeping van thieves at bay

Increase in attacks on drivers

When setting up a security strategy, it’s important not to forget the drivers themselves, who may be vulnerable to attack while transporting valuable cargoes. They are also liable to be hit by vandals throwing objects into roads, a phenomenon which seems to be increasing recently.

There were 1,021 reported incidents of motorists being attacked by thrown objects in 2012, which equates to a staggering average of almost three
a day.

The county with the highest number of incidents last year was Nottinghamshire, with 279 attacks, while Avon and Somerset was the safest with only six reported incidents.

The research, undertaken by Autoglass, shows an increase from 2011, where a similar number of police forces reported only 395 incidents.

Matthew Mycock, managing director of Autoglass, commented: “It is alarming to discover that the number of motorists attacked with bridge and roadside missiles is on the increase.

“As many motorists don’t report incidents, the true extent of the problem is yet to be revealed.”

The data, which was revealed after a Freedom of Information Act request, does however show that an encouraging 75% of incidents reported resulted in arrests.

In April, AOL Cars reported that one driver was blinded by shattered glass after a bottle, allegedly thrown by the driver of another car, went through his windscreen.

The driver was hospitalised for six days, with doctors saying he would never regain 100% sight in his afflicted eye.

“What may seem a prank to some yobs is likely to result in tragedy and must be stopped,” said Mycock.

“We are calling for all motorists affected by this crime to report it to the police to enable them to take steps to prevent a more serious incident happening next time.”

 

Avoiding ‘crash-for-cash’ scams

An alarming trend that has emerged in the past few years is for van drivers to be involved in ‘crash-for-cash’ scams in which another vehicle causes an accident and the occupants then claim thousands of pounds from the fleet’s insurance company for fake injuries, even for people who were not on board the car at

the time.

Vans are particularly vulnerable as the scammers know that they are company vehicles and insurance claims are likely to be settled with fewer questions asked.

 The danger of slam-ons has been highlighted by experts at experts at Virtual Risk Manager.

A spokesman said: “We would strongly recommend you spend some time focusing on this issue in collaboration with your insurer and broker.

“Induced collision fraud represents a serious threat to public safety, estimated to cost hundreds of millions of pounds per year by UK insurers.

“Gang members either purchase and insure low-value vehicles or use hired vehicles, and then force innocent members of the public and fleet vehicles to crash into them. 

“By ‘inducing’ an innocent driver to collide with them, the fraudsters can rely on a highly positive chance of the acceptance of insurance liability.

“Multiple claims are subsequently submitted for the driver and (often fictitious) passengers. According to insurers, who continue to work to mitigate this risk, the average insurance bill per induced collision is £25,000-30,000.”

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