'Vanophobes' should think again

'Vanophobes' should think again

The majority of motorists think the stereotyped reputation of van drivers for anti-social driving is deserved, despite road accident figures quite to the contrary.

A survey by RAC Van Insurance has discovered that some 57% of motorists believe van drivers behave badly on the roads, with 54% accusing them of taking less care than other road users.

But analysis of official government figures published earlier this year shows that vans are actually no more likely to be involved in an accident than regular cars.

The statistics show that just one in every 261 vans was involved in an accident in Britain in 2012, while the figure for cars settled at one in 146.

That year, 12,575 out of 3.3 million registered vans were involved in an accident of some kind - from minor prangs to more serious accidents. That means that each van had a 0.38% chance of an accident.

There were 197,388 accidents involving one of Britain's 28.7 million cars, equating to a 0.69% chance of a collision.

One in 26 buses or coaches were involved in an accident of some kind during 2012 - while the figure for HGVs was one in 68 - although these comparatively high figures are expected due to the large number of hours buses and coaches spend on the roads each week.

RAC Van Insurance spokesman Simon Williams thinks it is time the nation started to change its tune towards the much maligned 'white van man'. He commented: "While 'white van man' has been used as a generic term for van drivers for years it now seems to have become very much associated with bad driving too. Our research clearly paints us as a nation of 'vanophobes' which seems harsh when you look at the accident statistics and see both van and car drivers have the same statistical chance of being involved in an accident.

"In fact, you could argue that van drivers are less likely to have an accident as one in 146 car drivers will have an accident compared to one in 261 van drivers.

"Van drivers - plumbers, builders, electricians, plasterers and delivery drivers - are the life-blood of the economy and yet motorists continue to hold this opinion, regardless of their driving experiences. This judgement seems a little unfair which is why we think it's time to give van drivers a bit of a break as well as some recognition for their significant contribution to the economy."

Copyright Press Association 2014