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Euro NCAP puts spotlight on van safety

The van-specific crash tests, which were carried out on a number of 8-9 seater business and family-orientated models, have led Euro NCAP to call upon manufacturers to offer vehicles with higher levels of safety equipment and for legislators to review their lenient legal safety requirements.

The Ford Transit Custom was the only vehicle to score five stars in the tests. The Hyundai H1 and Fiat Scudo scored three stars while the Renault Trafic scored two.

Euro NCAP also pointed out that some of these vehicles are rebadged and sold by other manufacturers, with the Fiat Scudo available as the Peugeot Expert and Citroen Jumpy and the Renault Trafic sold as the Vauxhall Vivaro and Nissan Primastar.

However, Euro NCAP said that some manufacturers are responding to Euro NCAP’s call and have committed to better equip light commercial vehicles when sold as family cars. For example, the Ford Transit Custom features curtain airbags and has already been awarded in Euro NCAP’s Advanced scheme for offering Lane Keep Assist accident prevention technology. The organization added that Fiat is making safety features such as the front passenger airbag and a Speed Limitation Device standard in more European markets for the Scudo while its Peugeot and Citroen sister models are doing the same.

Dr Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said: ‘We are optimistic that the safety of these vehicles will advance significantly in the next few years.

‘By and large this is a neglected vehicle category that from a safety perspective is still immature. Per legislation, these vehicles have never had to be well-equipped with safety technologies. Not all offer electronic stability control as standard and most provide poor protection for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians in the event of a collision.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.