Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

More stringent Euro NCAP van ratings and plans for HGV safety testing

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. The results for 18 vans have just been 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 tells us that it will soon also 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 Citroen Jumpy (known as the Dispatch in Ireland and the UK), the Citroen 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.

It should be noted that with the accelerated arrival of new electric vans and growth in sales, despite high purchase prices, higher safety specs may also mean higher van prices for many.

Nobody can argue with the fact that a van driver deserves the same standards of safety as a car driver, especially as many work all day long in their vans. It will happen but it may come at a price, especially in the transition period.

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.”

He added: “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.”

Michiel van Ratingen concluded by saying: “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.”

Check out the the ratings of commercial vans tested by Euro NCAP here. They are based on their Safety Assist (ADAS) technologies.

From this year (2023), Euro NCAP has applied more detailed Commercial Van testing and assessment protocols than those used in previous years, and ratings should not be compared.