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Select Car Leasing

Are we scapegoating van drivers?

THE SO-CALLED white van man has the worst reputation of all drivers on British roads — but doesn’t deserve it — according to the results of a new survey.

An national independent study conducted by Select Car Leasing saw other road users give van drivers the top spot in a shameful list of the UK’s meanest and most selfish motorists. Despite pipping lorry drivers to number one, stats from road safety organisation IAM Roadsmart showed the White Van Man’s bad reputation may be undeserved. More people than in any other category (30%) said they found van drivers to be the most unpredictable behind the wheel.

They also topped the list for veering into other lanes, getting distracted and not indicating properly.

But according to stats from safety experts IAM Roadsmart, latest figures suggest van drivers may actually be getting safer behind the wheel.

The charity claims online shopping and increasing demand for next-day deliveries means there are more vans in use on British roads than ever. But while there were more than 15,500 accidents involving vans in 2006, by 2016 that number had fallen to just 13,125.

In that time, miles travelled by van drivers had increased by more than 22 per cent.

Daren Jasper, Head of Vans at Select Car Leasing agreed that the poor reputation van drivers have been handed is undeserved. 

He said: "The White Van Man is a very old-fashioned British stereotype, and one we should have got rid of a long time ago."

“Increases in online shopping from retail giants like ASOS and Amazon mean more and more people rely on the service of van drivers every day."

“Many of these orders are now completed by independent couriers to keep up with demand. But the fact people still don’t trust them to share the road in a safe way is bizarre. Many of our best customers, and the best drivers on British roads, are what some might describe as ‘white van men. They are simply not the inconsiderate and aggressive drivers they are often made out to be and the stats from IAM Roadsmart prove that."

“Last year, vans and light goods vehicles racked up 49 billion miles across the UK. That is almost a quarter more than 10 years ago."

“To have reduced the number of crashes in that time by 16 per cent is considerable.”


Daren added: “We're actually seeing some of the most advanced vehicles on the road taking the guise of a van. The majority of vans on our roads are also less than five years old compared to roughly five per cent of cars.

“By nature, that means they are kitted out with all the latest safety features such as lane detection, departure warning and cruise control”

A total of 1,200 people took part in the Select Car Leasing survey. Almost 40 per cent of respondents said they think van drivers are the most likely to be mean or selfish on the roads, while 25 per cent said they feel lorry drivers would beep others for no good reason, give them less space or not let them in. 

Just 16 per cent thought bus or coach drivers would be the most likely to behave that way. But when quizzed about what driving-related fears they have, 246 people said they worry about the actions of lorry drivers, while stunningly only 138 said they fear crashing into another vehicle.

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