Two years after it began, the coronavirus pandemic has changed almost every area of life. Businesses had to adjust to work-from-home arrangements, people adjusted to eating in and staying home, and manufacturers had to cope with supply chain disruptions to name a few. One of the changes we’re likely all familiar with is the rapid rise in parcel deliveries, particularly during lockdowns when shops were closed and our movement was restricted. As millions of people traded in-store for online shopping, demand for parcel deliveries – and delivery vans – soared. With thousands more vans on the roads around the country, Australia’s vehicle safety watchdog, ANCAP, has announced a renewed focus on van safety.
Demand for parcel deliveries surges
Parcel deliveries have been steadily on the rise for around a decade, but in 2020, the volume increased dramatically. In fact, parcel deliveries increased by 37% worldwide in 2020. In Australia, the number of parcel deliveries per person jumped from 37 in 2019 to 40 in 2020, with a total number of parcels a record one billion.
It’s no surprise then that the number of van sales has also increased. Mid-sized van sales hit record highs in 2021 in Australia, with figures going up 56% over 2020.
Van safety concerns
In response to this rapid uptick, ANCAP initiated a broad analysis of van safety in the Australian market with a focus on the availability and performance of active safety systems in 2018. These include advanced but increasingly common driver assistance features like autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance, speed sign recognition and controls and blind-spot monitoring.
The first round of results and recommendations was released in December 2020, finding that vans were lagging behind passenger cars in crash protection. The second round of results comparing commercial vans based on key safety features was released in February 2022 and includes updated benchmarks and ratings.
“Vans are a workplace. Their increased on-road exposure and frequent use in built-up urban areas means they interact with a large number of other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, Carla Hoorweg, in a media release dated 16 February 2022.
“It is essential that fleet and van operators are aware of the crash avoidance capabilities and active safety features fitted to their vehicles.”
Van safety ratings: The results are in
So which vans were the best – and worst – performers? The Hyundai Staria-Load set a new benchmark for both availability and performance of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), earning the first Platinum rating in crash avoidance performance.
At the other end of the spectrum, the LDV Deliver 9 – equipped with more modest features – fell short of winning with a Bronze rating, and some candidates were stamped with a ‘Not Recommended’ rating for their lack of active safety systems altogether, like the Mitsubishi Express and Renault Traffic.
Interested in vehicle safety? Learn what cutting-edge safety features are on the market today here: Essential new car safety features 2021