On Wednesday the 13th November, the Campaña de prevención de accidentes en furgonetas (Campaign for the Prevention of Van Accidents) was presented by the IRSST and the RACE in order to break the current increasing tendency for accidents in this type of vehicles.
I was able to attend the event, representing Prevencontrol and I obtained highly revealing conclusions on the scale of the problem and the preventive actions we can undertake:
- Despite the fact that since 2007 the fleet of vans has decreased, last year in the Community of Madrid the accident rate increased by 5%
- The age of the van fleet is spine chilling: The average age is 15.1 years and 25% are over 20 years old, which implies less elements of active and passive safety and more pollution.
- The main defect in the ITVs (MOTs) is a basic element: The tires.
- The van drivers have usually received specific training for driving this type of vehicles and drive them like passenger cars.
- The main causes of accidents are entrances and exits to roads, in the latter of which the ESP would prevent approximately 40%.
To verify that the vehicles are not being handled like passenger cars, which should not be driven in the same way, thanks to the invaluable contribution of the RACE, the drivers can attend a braking demonstration for this type of vehicles. Three vehicles were used for this: A car derived vehicle, a van of less than 3,500 Kg of MMA and a van with over 3,500 Kg of MMA:
The yellow cone is where the car stopped.
The last cone is where the 3,500 Kg van stopped.
If we add that the test was carried out with new vehicles, with ABS, not loaded, driven at a moderate speed (70 km/hr) and that the photo is deceiving, the distance being greater than it appears, there is no doubt that a van has characteristics that we cannot ignore.
To demonstrate the importance of not only renewing the fleet (we cannot ignore that in order for a company to be viable, all of its machinery and equipment, including vehicles must be amortized), but when it’s time to replace the vehicle, the new one should include safety elements such as the ESP:
Without ESP, this maneuver would have ended up overturning the vehicle.
Among other conclusions, if we wish to decrease the accident rate, we cannot restrict ourselves to acting on the machinery; we must include the driver as a fundamental element, without undermining the importance of renewing the fleet. If we don’t train the driver both in the theory and in the practice using simulators that we have at PrevenControl, our efforts, in many cases of a pecuniary amount, will be totally insufficient. An aware and trained driver with an old van will most probably be safer than a driver with a new van thinking he’s driving a passenger vehicle.
We cannot ignore that matters of transport, route planning, the choice of routes, the appropriate management of maintenance and economic driving are basic elements for reducing the risk and thus the accident rates. In addition to this are the economic benefits; simply thinking about the fuel expense of any company demonstrates that through an appropriate management of mobility, the savings can be more than considerable. A fundamental tool is available for this: The Mobility Plan.
PrevenControl es la firma especializada en seguridad y salud laboral que propone soluciones eficaces e innovadoras para la mejora del negocio y la reputación de sus clientes a través de la consultoría, el uso de la tecnología y la formación.