white van man
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  • The myth of ‘white van man’ recklessly tearing his way up and down the country may be just that: an urban myth
  • Vans are the fastest growing type of vehicle on UK roads in terms of miles travelled
  • Yet serious and fatal crashes involving vans are falling
RECKLESS driving; smacked door mirrors; crunched wings – it’s all the fault of van drivers.
Those speed delivery merchants on our roads are the crash culprits.
Errr…maybe not.
According to research by IAM RoadSmart, vans and light good vehicles now travel 49 billion miles a year on our roads – that’s from the most recent figures (2016). 
Compared to a decade ago, vans now travel 10 billion miles more a year than previously. That’s an increase of 22%, largely fuelled by internet shopping and the popularity of ‘next day delivery’ options (DfT figures).
In the last 10 years, crashes involving vans have fallen from 15,593 in 2006 to 13,125 in 2016. Fatalities have reduced from 274 to 186 in the same year (DfT figures).
IAM RoadSmart puts this reduction partly down to companies which employ their own drivers increasingly using robust driver training and vehicle management programmes. 
These in turn pay dividends in fewer lost man hours, reduced ‘bent metal’ costs and increased customer satisfaction. Not forgetting vehicle off road time.
Trial by social media has also been a factor as companies can no longer risk the damage to their reputation caused by bad driving in vehicles bearing their company logo.
Additionally, over a third (37%) of vans on Britain’s roads are fewer than five years old compared to just 5% of all of Britain’s cars – meaning they are far more likely to contain the latest in crash protection and active and passive safety features.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: 
“It is heartening to see that van operators are more than ever taking their responsibilities to their drivers and the public seriously, and this is being reflected in a reduction in serious and fatal crashes.
“The increasing use of telematics means drivers and companies will be increasingly held accountable for crashes, so operators know it is in their interest, for both human and economic reasons, that they keep up this good work.”


Here are more van facts

  • More than half (57.0%) of the vans on the road are white, with silver (11.4%) in second place and blue (9.0%) third
  • If you parked all the vans in the UK end-to-end, they would stretch 28 times the length of the A1
  • The combined payload volume of all the vans in the UK adds up to 26.2 million cubic metres – the equivalent of 10,483 Olympic swimming pools



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