Do Van Drivers Really Take Less Care When On The Road?

A survey showed that 54% of motorists think van drivers take less care on the road, and 57% believe van drivers’ reputation for bad behaviour behind the wheel is deserved. But according to an RAC analysis, this belief is completely unfounded.

In fact, the RAC’s analysis of Government accident statistics found that van drivers are no more likely to be involved in a reported accident than car drivers as both have a less than 1% chance of being involved in an accident.

With regards to accident frequency, van drivers actually do better as one in 146 cars were involved a reportable accident in 2012, compared to one in 261 vans. This is because Britain’s 3.3m registered vans were only involved in 12,575 accidents of all severities compared to 28.7m cars being involved in 197,388 accidents.

Buses and coaches statistically have the most accidents as one in 26 had one in 2012 - 166,297 vehicles and 6,318 accidents. This equates to a 4% risk of each vehicle ending up in an accident but this may be affected by the large number of hours buses and coaches spend on the roads each week.

Heavy goods drivers have a 1.5% accident risk with each vehicle having a one in 68 chance of being involved in an accident - 6,720 accidents among 460,616 HGVs.

The research carried out by RAC Van Insurance to understand motorists’ views towards van drivers, found that in spite of their reputation for being a menace to other road-users, 54% of motorists believe van drivers play an important role in the economy.

Motorists’ suggestions for improving the reputation of van drivers included:

  • Driving more carefully and with more consideration (43%)
  • Pay more attention to the rules of the road (17%)

Simon Williams, spokesman for RAC Van Insurance, said: “While ‘white van man’ has been used as a generic term for van drivers for years it now seems to have become very much associated with bad driving too.

“Our research clearly paints us as a nation of ‘vanophobes’ which seems harsh when you look at the accident statistics and see both van and car drivers have the same statistical chance of being involved in an accident.”

“This judgement seems a little unfair which is why we think it’s time to give van drivers a bit of a break as well as some recognition for their significant contribution to the economy.”

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