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Commercial van drivers face high risk of serious injury

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The Automobile Association and New Zealand Transport Agency say they are disappointed the latest round of crash testing by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has found some commercial vans still expose their occupants to a high risk of serious injury in a crash.

The Automobile Association and New Zealand Transport Agency say they are disappointed the latest round of crash testing by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has found some commercial vans still expose their occupants to a high risk of serious injury in a crash.

Stella Stocks, AA General Manager - Technical Services, says while the safety of commercial vans has generally improved, with a number of four-star vans now on the road, the most recent crash testing showed that drivers’ legs were still vulnerable upon impact. Vehicles crash tested by ANCAP are scored on a scale of zero to five stars based on how well they protect their occupants. 

“When testing the Ford Transit Van, the passenger compartment lost integrity in the frontal offset test conducted at 64km/h, resulting in ‘poor’ protection from serious leg injury for the driver, while chest protection for both driver and passenger was ‘weak’.  As a result the vehicle only achieved a three-star result.”

“Similarly, when the Suzuki APV was tested the passenger compartment held its shape reasonably well except for the footwell, with protection from serious leg injury ‘poor’ for the driver. The Suzuki APV also only achieved a three-star result.”

“This can be contrasted to the four-star ratings awarded last year for the Mercedes Vito and VW Transporter, where there was only a slight risk of lower leg injury.  The four-star results for these commercial vans demonstrate this type of vehicle can be designed to minimise leg injury,” says Ms Stocks.

NZTA Group Manager Access and Use Ian Gordon said light commercial vehicles accounted for a large percentage of business and fleet purchases in New Zealand. 

"These vehicles clock up a lot of mileage, they are work horses and those who drive them for a living deserve the same level of protection as the occupants of other vehicles. Passenger cars are now consistently scoring four and five-star safety occupant protection ratings, and we encourage manufacturers to make commercial vehicles just as safe,” says Mr Gordon. 

ANCAP has released a range of new and recent crash test ratings for light commercial vehicles through either ANCAP testing or EuroNCAP, the European New Car Assessment Program which incorporates the same crash-testing protocols as ANCAP.  These include 4-star ratings for the Mercedes Vito, VW Caddy Van and VW Transporter, a three-star rating for the Toyota HiAce and a one-star rating for the Mitsubishi Express.

ANCAP is supported by all New Zealand and Australian motoring clubs, the New Zealand government, all Australian State governments and the FIA Foundation. The AA and NZTA are both members of ANCAP.

Detailed crash test results are available on the websites of both organisations - www.aa.co.nz(external link) or www.landtransport.govt.nz/vehicles/ancap/(external link)

Note for media: Stills and video of the commercial van crash testing are available.

For more information contact:

Andy Knackstedt
Media Manager
NZ Transport Agency
T +64 4 894 6285
M +64 21 276 3222  

or

Stella Stocks
General Manager - Technical Services
New Zealand Automobile Association
M +64 21 772 242

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