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Van driver safety: Major report 

You’re probably not surprised that road safety is a top concern for van drivers. They’re out there day after day, often working tight schedules with frequent stops, starts and deliveries. That means more exposure to the risks of the road.  

So, what’s the current state of safety on European roads? And what could be done to make them safer for van drivers?  

In setting out to answer these questions, we combined background research with a survey of nearly 1,000 van drivers across Europe. This post reflects some of our exclusive findings, with key updates for the UK (prefer to see the full report? Download it directly below).

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The data behind van driver safety

To get started, we should consider some important data from Department for Transport (all statistics use the latest figures available): 

  • The number of fatalities in 2023 stood at 1,663, a 9% decrease compared to the year ending June 2022 
  • There were 29,429 deaths or serious injuries in 2023, a decline of 1% compared to the year ending June 2022 
  • Last year saw 133,443 casualties of all severities, a decline of 3% compared to the year ending June 2022 
  • Per billion miles travelled, 2023 brought 5 fatalities, a decline of 11% compared to the year ending June 2022 

Let’s also take into account these statistics on road safety and commercial fleets:

  • 90% of all road accidents involve human error 
  • 84% of fleet managers agree that poor driving behaviour has a negative impact on their business 
  • 65% of fleet managers say they are concerned about other road users making false insurance claims 
  • 42% of commercial fleets are involved in 1-5 road collisions per year 
  • 10-25% of all road accidents involve driver fatigue 

With the EU and UN both committed to halving the number of road deaths by 2030, more has to be done. That’s likely why building safer roads has become a priority.  

Last January, the European Commission launched the Guidelines on Methodology for Network-Wide Road Safety Assessments. The guidelines make it easier for member states to judge how safe their road networks are. 

The UK Department of Transport has invested £47.5 million in improving safety on 27 of the country’s most dangerous roads. One of the main focus areas is redesigning junctions to reduce the risk of collisions. The investment is also being used to make the area around where crashes are likely to occur safer, clearing the roadside so those involved in crashes can walk away and extending space between vehicles. 

So, that’s the current state of safety on European roads. Now the question is: What could be done to make them safer for van drivers?

Digital solutions can help fleets improve van driver safety 

5 ways to improve van driver safety

Fleet managers can take advantage of a wide range of digital solutions to support van driver safety. There’s a misconception that drivers are often resistant to new technology. Our survey shows that drivers want a more digitalised workflow but lack access to the tools. Here are five things we learned about drivers’ perception of digital solutions. 

1. Professional navigation 

By using a complex network of live traffic data and advanced algorithms, professional navigation helps drivers avoid traffic jams, construction zones, bad weather and other safety obstacles. 

  • 50% of van drivers use this solution, with 80% of these users reporting that it provides them with excellent levels of support 
  • 73% of van drivers without access to professional navigation say they either very much want to use it or want to use it 

 2. Driver performance analysis and coaching  

A driver performance analysis and coaching solution provides data-based insights that encourage safer driving. With clear reports on things like speeding and driving events, you can better coach your drivers to avoid danger and stay safe behind the wheel. 

  • 24% of van drivers use this solution, with 76% happy with its supportiveness 
  • 64% of van drivers without a feedback/coaching tool would like to use one 

 3. AI-powered dashcams  

AI powered dashcams combine footage from the road with driving data from your fleet to give you the full context of road incidents. They identify risky behaviour like mobile phone usage and tailgating and notify the drivers so they can take timely action and avoid danger.  

  • 22% of van drivers use this solution, with 80% saying that dashcams help 
  • 59% of van drivers without dashcam support say they’d like to use one  

 4. Mobile apps  

Apps like Webfleet’s Vehicle Check minimise the risk of breakdowns and safety issues with timely insight into the vehicle’s condition. The app makes it easy to stay on top of daily vehicle inspections and schedule fleet maintenance tasks. 

  • 35% of van drivers use apps, with 76% satisfied with the result 
  • 67% of van drivers who don’t use apps say they would like to  
Mobile apps like Webfleet’s Vehicle Check support van driver safety 

5. Advanced tyre solutions  

Solutions such as a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, or TPMS, check tyre pressure and temperature in real time. Predictive tyre management means problems can be detected before they lead to breakdowns, accidents and downtime. 

  • 31% of van drivers use a solution like TPMS, with 77% pleased with it 
  • 70% of van drivers say they would like to use an advanced tyre solution 

One last insight 

While it’s clear that both businesses and drivers want a safer working day, most van drivers work without leading technology designed to increase road safety such as professional navigation, driver coaching or AI-enabled dashcams. 

We hope this post has given you something to think about. And we encourage you to read the full report, since it goes into much greater detail. 

Beverley Wise
As Webfleet Regional Director UKI for Bridgestone Mobility Solutions, Beverley Wise has more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, primarily within the leasing sector. She firmly believes that being a decisive leader is key to delivering great success. She likes to innovate with her mantra of "Ask for forgiveness, not permission," helping to move businesses forward. She has a strong work ethic and strives to be the best she can be, which she likes to instil into teams she manages, being fair but firm with a high degree of empathy. Beverley has been with Webfleet overseeing UKI sales for six years, where she has seen several changes. She is passionate about the future of the automotive industry, believing that the transition to electric or alternative-fuelled vehicles is a real game changer.

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