Mercedes-Benz Vans teams up with the FTA to promote higher safety standards

Mercedes-Benz Vans and its Retailer of the Year Northside Truck & Van joined forces with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to present the first of a planned series of briefings that aim to keep operators safe, legal and efficient.

Held at the dealer’s Doncaster branch and attended by van customers representing a variety of industries and applications, the session was a pilot for a programme that Mercedes-Benz Vans intends to roll out across its UK network.

The meeting was addressed by Mark Cartwright, head of vans and light commercials at the FTA. He congratulated those customers present, observing that their very presence showed they were highly conscious of their responsibilities as vehicle operators.

Cartwright led a discussion on the issues of legal compliance facing businesses which run fleets of vans, and outlined ways in which the FTA can support those going through its voluntary Van Excellence programme.

Northside Truck & Van sales specialists Glyn Staley and Lizzy Hinchcliffe then offered insights into the efforts of Mercedes-Benz to build the safest light commercial vehicle on the road.

Staley said: “Mercedes-Benz is constantly investing in research and development to raise the bar by bringing new systems to the market.”

There followed an opportunity for guests to take a closer look at examples from the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Vito and Citan model ranges.

LC Vehicle Hire owns more than 2,000 vans and trucks. Fleet and compliance manager Helen Cluderay said: “This has been an extremely interesting and useful exercise, and has certainly given me a more detailed understanding of how safe Mercedes-Benz vehicles are.”

Andy Eccles, head of business development at Mercedes-Benz Vans, concluded: “This was the first of an ongoing programme of events. Our intention is to work closely with the FTA to stage similar meetings across the country.

“We feel more should be done to support van customers. At Mercedes-Benz we strive do so much more than simply sell vans, and this is a great example of how we can work with forward-thinking operators to encourage operational best practice in our industry.”

Mercedes-Benz Vans is again – for the third consecutive year – sponsoring the FTA Van Excellence operational briefings, a series of seminars for operators which this year will focus on the theme of managing operational risk in van fleets.

Briefings will be held at Aston Villa Football Club, Birmingham, on Wednesday 1 March; at Twickenham Stadium, London, on Thursday 29 March; and at Pavilions of Harrogate, on Wednesday 29 March.

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