Van Related Incidents Show Startling Increase

A report conducted by Fundación Linea Directa, in collaboration with the University Institute for Traffic Research and Road Safety (INTRAS), has analysed, in depth, 445,000 road traffic incidents with victims between 2011 and 2015, in which 750,000 drivers were involved and a total of 41,000 vans, as well as more than 940,000 incidents dealt with by the Línea Directa insurance company between 2011 and 2017, involving 23,000 vans.

The startling conclusion of the report that looked into both sets of data is that there has been an increase of 41% in traffic incidents involving vans in the five-year period. These incidents resulted in the loss of 935 lives and another 4,600 people being seriously injured.

The situation is especially serious in cities, where the number of injured has increased by 94% and the risk of suffering a fatal incident is 35% higher than in cars. To the worsening of this serious problem for road safety, very little studied so far, several factorshave been contributed. In the first place, the very nature of the Spanish business fabric, in which there are more than 3.1 million freelancers. Secondly, the significant increase in the number of motorists who rent a van without preparation, generally to move or carry a load for a single journey, such as moving house, or buying furniture, and, finally, the boom of electronic commerce,

Type of incidents involving vans

The predominant type of incident in which vans are involved in are usually multiple-vehicle collisions, usually with the vans colliding with the rear of cars ahead. Typically, the driver of the most likely van involved in this sort of collision is male between the age of 35 and 45, with some considerable driving experience.

As for the most common type of road, there is still a slight predominance of highways and motorways over the cities, although this difference is narrowing in recent years. As for the time and date, incidents with vans usually occur mid-morning (between 12 and 1 pm), on Fridays and during the months of July and October.

According to data from the DGT, the vans involved in the collisions are often old and in poor condition, with 60% more faults than cars, mainly with their tyres, brakes and steering. A problem that is aggravated by the age of the van fleet on the roads, which averages 16 years of age, 20% older than the average fleet of cars. In addition, in 2 of every 3 collisions involving vehicles in the opposite direction, the responsibility is with the driver of the van. The reasons for this is thought to be due to their long working hours and, above all, in the stress generated by the need for punctuality of deliveries.

Accidentalness by Autonomous Communities

In the study carried out by the LíneaDirecta Foundation, an incident map of this type of vehicle has also been drawn up comparing the different regional van incident rates for each 1,000 vehicles of this type (whose average is 4.7 in the last analysed year of 2015). With this in mind, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Asturias are the territories with the highest proportion of van incidents, while Cantabria and Navarra are the regions with the least number of incidents of this type.

Regarding the evolution by territory, the regions with the worst evolution of the rates for every 1,000 vans involved in the incident are the Canary Islands, where these losses have increased by 170% since 2011 and Murcia, with a rise of 145%. On the contrary, those that have had the best behaviour have been Cantabria and the Basque Country.

What do the Spaniards think of the delivery people?

To complete the study, Fundación Línea Directa has conducted a survey of 1,202 drivers and 304 professional distributors from all over the country in order to analyse the general perception of Spaniards about this group.

According to the survey, 55% believe that delivery drivers fail to comply with road safety regulations more frequently than other drivers. In addition, 81% of motorists believe that delivery drivers “park their vans anywhere”, and 72% believe that, “they are very distracted, especially by their GPS and mobile phone”. However, the vast majority of people sympathise with the drivers, as 69% think that these behaviours have worsened with the rise of e-commerce. As for the most supported solutions: the installation of tachographs, as in trucks and coaches, improving the use of loading and unloading areas, or create a specific licence for vans are the most popular.

Occasional drivers

What also emerges from the demographic study is that Spaniards are not properly prepared to drive these vehicles. In fact, 81% of occasional vans drivers are unaware of the safest way to load cargo, 75% ignore the speed limits of these vehicles (which is lower than that of cars in many instances) and 46% never secure their load.