One in three new delivery vans tested by safety authorities have inadequate crash-avoidance technology – and have been put on a "Not Recommended" list following new research.
The not-for-profit Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) – which ranks the crash safety of most new vehicles – found that five out of 15 vans tested did not "offer the level of active safety performance consumers should expect".
The Hyundai iLoad had previously earned a four-star crash test score from 2011 and the Renault Trafic was given a three-star score in 2015. The Mitsubishi Express (identical to the Renault Trafic but with different badging), Renault Master and Iveco Daily were "unrated".
The latest Toyota HiAce and Ford Transit models sold in Australia come standard with a raft of advanced safety tech that can avoid a crash – and also protect occupants to a five-star level of safety in the event of a crash.
The test measured the availability (on certain models) and effectiveness of autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, speed assistance systems, intelligent seatbelt reminders, and driver monitoring features.
“The results of this new analysis come at an important time,” said ANCAP Director of Communications and Advocacy, Rhianne Robson.
“COVID-related lockdowns across Australia and New Zealand have created a surge in demand for delivery services, and as a result, many areas have seen a rise in the number of commercial vans on the road,” she added.
“With the increasing number of van movements, the risk to other road users – in other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists – increases, so it is important fleets and van operators are aware of the heightened risk these vehicles pose to others.”
“Commercial vans generally operate with higher levels of exposure and hold a much longer economic life-span due to their primary commercial-use and goods-carrying function, and this makes their active safety capability arguably even more critical than that of passenger cars,” she concluded.
In October 2020, the Australian government announced autonomous safety technology could soon be compulsory on all new cars, however it's unclear if the commercial sector would be affected by such legislation.