I MET up with Mike Hawes, boss of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders at the CV Show today (14 April).
While pleased with the increase in van sales over Q1 of 2015, he was concerned that van safety is being compromised. Not so much among the small businesses and professional trades, but fleets running heavy vans that are regularly overloaded.
Mike said that the latest stats from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) make uncomfortable reading:
- Almost two thirds (63%) of the 10,800 vans stopped by the DVSA at the roadside each year have a serious mechanical defect
- More than nine out of 10 (93%) are overloaded
- Around half of all vehicles stopped posed a road safety risk and were subsequently taken off the road at a cost to their owners of some £4,000 per day.
- Meanwhile, 50% of vans also fail their annual MOT test first time, compared with just 22% of HGVs, whose operators are bound by strict and costly licensing rules.
Mike says he and the SMMT are keen to raise general awareness and to make sure vans are adequately maintained.
“We have no appetite for further regulation, and I’m sure small businesses don’t require more red tape either, but if safety becomes an issue, a new government might take a different point of view,” Mike explained.
“It’s all about self-regulation from our point of view. And it makes common business sense to keep operating vans within the law. So we want to make the industry aware of the issue.”
Read more on keeping vans within the law
Click here for our story on Act now or face tougher laws, van users told