CommercialFleet

Has the ‘white van man’ label had its day?

Van driver driving van.

Nearly two thirds (60%) of van drivers believe they are made a scapegoat for perceived poor driving standards on UK roads, new research has revealed.

According to a study by TomTom Telematics, fewer than one in 10 van drivers (9%) have been involved in a road traffic collision in the past 12 months.

In addition, more than half (54%) have their driving performance monitored by their employer and more than a third (34%) receive driver training.

The findings challenge the views of British motorists revealed in a study earlier this year, in which van drivers finished bottom of the list when it came to which road users are considered the safest or most careful.

“The traditional ‘white van man’ stereotype may no longer be a fair one with a great deal having been achieved over recent years to help raise driving standards among LCV operators,” said Jeremy Gould, VP sales Europe at TomTom Telematics.

“Developments in telematics technology have enabled drivers and managers to work more closely, empowering them with actionable insights and performance feedback for continuous driving improvement.”

Gould’s view is supported by Freight Transport Association (FTA) head of vans, Mark Cartwright, who said: “Van drivers are often unfairly maligned and, in some quarters, continue to shoulder an undeserved reputation. Initiatives such as the FTA Van Excellence scheme have been embraced by the industry, demonstrating its commitment to improving standards and increasing best practice awareness.”

According to the research, truck drivers were considered the safest road users, with a third of van drivers (33%) voting them top. Thirty-three per cent meanwhile considered cyclists to be the least safe.

More than half (59%) believed in-cab technology solutions that provide audible and visual alerts offer the best approach to improving driving standards, followed closely by 49 per cent that voted for driver training courses.

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