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Poor safety rating in latest ANCAP crash test

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The Automobile Association and NZ Transport Agency have voiced concerns about the safety of light commercial vehicles following the release by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) of a poor one-star rating for the Nissan Urvan van.

The Automobile Association and NZ Transport Agency have voiced concerns about the safety of light commercial vehicles following the release by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) of a poor one-star rating for the Nissan Urvan van.

Stella Stocks, AA General Manager – Technical Services, says that while passenger vehicles are now scoring consistent four and five-star safety ratings, which is great news for private motorists and their families, there needs to be equal emphasis given to commercial vehicle safety standards.

“Many New Zealanders spend a lot of time and drive thousands of kilometres in commercial vehicles, such as utes and vans, and these people deserve the same protection they receive when driving the family car.

“Owners and drivers of commercial vehicles, particularly large fleet operators, should be mindful of the safety these vehicles provide for drivers and passengers,” she says.

The Urvan result followed other light commercial vehicle crash tests which also had recorded low safety levels, particularly in protecting drivers’ legs in the event of a crash. The tested model of Nissan Urvan E25 was introduced to New Zealand several years ago.

The ANCAP crash test showed the passenger compartment lost structural integrity in an offset crash test conducted at 64km/h, offering poor protection for the occupants.  There was a high risk of serious neck, chest, leg and foot injuries for the driver.

The ANCAP test also resulted in a leak from the diesel fuel tank.  The top of the tank had been speared by the front suspension torsion bar, which displaced rearwards in the crash. The AA and NZTA say while the safety of commercial vans has improved with a number of four-star vans on the road, recent crash testing showed that drivers’ legs were still vulnerable upon impact. 

NZTA’s Group Manager Access and Use Ian Gordon said commercial vehicles account for a large percentage of business and fleet purchases in New Zealand, and should be expected to provide their occupants with protection comparable to passenger cars.

"These vans are likely to be driven in a range of situations on New Zealand roads including being used by tradespeople and couriers. These people travel long distances due to the nature of their work and therefore are at greater risk of being involved in a crash than other drivers. Taking these factors into account, occupant protection and general safety in commercial vans should be a vital issue," he says.

Vehicles crash tested by ANCAP are scored on a scale of zero to five stars based on how well they protect their occupants and pedestrians.

ANCAP has released a range of ratings for light commercial vehicles through either ANCAP testing or EuroNCAP, which incorporates the same crash-testing protocols.  These include four-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 tests are available on the websites of both organisations – www.aa.co.nz(external link) or www.landtransport.govt.nz/vehicles/ancap(external link)

For more information contact:

Stella Stocks
General Manager – Technical
New Zealand Automobile Association
M. +64 21 772 242

or

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

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