In 2021 Euro NCAP launched the Commercial Van Safety Rating to improve safety information for fleet managers and provide a safer experience for van drivers and other road users. Good improvements in system performance and availability were reported when Euro NCAP revisited the van results one year later. In 2023, Euro NCAP is taking the next step and tightening up the criteria for these ratings. Today, the results for eighteen vans are released that have been tested under these new conditions. The Fiat Ducato, rated Platinum last year, once again tops the list but is dropping to Gold under this year’s tougher protocol. The Nissan Interstar retains its position and continues to be rated Not Recommended based on its lack of crash avoidance systems. Under Euro NCAP’s plans, by 2026 vans will be expected to have the same ADAS requirements as passenger cars, and the van rating will from then on only consider standard fitment across all European markets. Euro NCAP will soon advance safety solutions in the fleet market with the introduction of a rating scheme for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
Results in the Commercial Van Ratings announced today include the Ford Transit, which like the Fiat Ducato achieved a Gold rating. The Mercedes-Benz Vito drops from Gold to a Silver rating, where it joins the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Volkswagen Transporter, the Renault Trafic, Nissan Primastar and Volkswagen Crafter. Those that achieved a Bronze Rating were the Citroën Jumpy (known as the Dispatch in the UK), the Citroën Jumper (Relay), Iveco Daily, Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro, Opel/Vauxhall Movano, Peugeot Expert, Peugeot Boxer, Renault Master and Toyota PROACE.
Commercial vans do not have a higher crash rate than other vehicles, but crashes involving vans tend to be more severe for their opponent vehicles and vulnerable road users. Euro NCAP has seen that ADAS technology can help effectively prevent or mitigate the consequences of these crashes. However, commercial vans are often not adequately equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Euro NCAP’s new criteria for Commercial Van Ratings takes ADAS to a higher level with greater emphasis on vulnerable road users including pedestrian safety, with focus on night-time scenarios, and cyclists as well as the introduction of one new van-to-car crash scenario.
Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary-General Euro NCAP, said: “Safety technologies and innovative solutions are developing at a fast pace. Euro NCAP must develop its criteria to ensure that manufacturers maintain the impetus to innovate and make available the latest safety technologies in all vehicles on European roads. Just because vans are used for commercial purposes, does not mean they should be any less safe than passenger cars. Under Euro NCAP’s plans by 2026, vans will be expected to meet the same ADAS requirements as passenger cars.
“Goods transport is essential in the modern world and most freight is still transported by road. Population growth and standard of living increases only heighten demand. Vans and trucks are likely to become more important, not less. With this increase comes the negative effect on road safety and the environment. Euro NCAP strongly believes that it must expand its safety testing to larger and heavier trucks (HGVs). Later in 2023 Euro NCAP will launch a new rating scheme that will keep drivers safe and create a market for safe and clean technology that will allow manufacturers to innovate and advance their safety offering firmly grounded in Euro NCAP principles.
“Over the last year Euro NCAP has been examining safety and possible solutions within the heavy goods vehicle category. I believe that this must be Euro NCAP’s next milestone to ensure that countries across Europe achieve their ‘Vision Zero’ target and end traffic-related fatalities. This marks the beginning of a new, challenging, and exciting journey for Euro NCAP, its members and those who wish to join us in the future.”
Automotive risk intelligence company Thatcham Research is the UK’s only Euro NCAP accredited testing centre, and its chief research strategy officer Matthew Avery offered a view on these latest safety results:
“As a society, our reliance on commercial vans shows no sign of declining anytime soon. When one of the millions of vans on UK roads is involved in a collision, impact severity tends to be higher than that of a passenger vehicle, which is why Euro NCAP’s rating is focused on the performance of safety technologies that avoid or mitigate crashes.
“With 13.5% of the whole vehicle fleet comprising of vans, it’s important that van drivers, and those sharing the roads with them, are protected. This latest set of results demonstrates that manufacturers are responding positively and it’s of note that the UK’s most popular commercial van, the Ford Transit, secured a ‘Gold’ rating.
“However, the fitment of crash avoidance technology seen on vans has some way to go before gaining parity with the high levels of standard fitment we enjoy on cars today.”
With regard to the proposed safety testing of HGVs, Avery commented: “This is great news for road safety. HGVs make up a very small percentage of the fleet (1.5%), but their contribution to Killed and Seriously Injured statistics is disproportionately high (15%), with 90% being external to the vehicle. Although fitment of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) to HGVs has been mandatory since 2015, the new rating will drive best practice with an urgent focus on HGVs not only matching, but exceeding, the performance levels of AEB on passenger vehicles.
“The rating will also assess and drive fitment of the full suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and will exceed new EU ‘General Safety Regulation 2’ requirements.”