The White Van Man has got a reputation for the kind of aggressive and selfish driving that can inspire road rage in the most mild-mannered motorist. However, a recent report suggests that public perception and reality don’t match, and that White Van Man is statistically safer behind the wheel.
Over the years white van drivers have got bad press, but it turns out that they are significantly less likely to have an accident. A report by British motoring organisation the RAC compared road users’ opinions of white van drivers with accident figures from the Department of Transport, and the results make for interesting reading.
The motoring organisation says that research shows the infamous white van man is no worse on the road than anyone else, and that, as a result, other drivers are worked up about nothing. The RAC asked other road users for their opinions about white
7van drivers and then compared the results with official accident statistics from the Department of Transport.
The study found 57% of motorists think that small van drivers deserve their dodgy reputation, and 54% think that they take less care on the road than other drivers. However, the official statistics for 2012 paint a very different picture: while one in every 146 car drivers was involved in a reported accident, just one in every 261 light van drivers was involved in a reported accident.
A reportable accident is one involving:
- Injury or damage to property other than the vehicle driver
- Injury to an animal not in the vehicle
- Damage to another vehicle
- Damage to property alongside the road, like a wall or traffic island
What the statistics did show was buses and coaches are more likely to have a reportable accident – the chances are rated at one in 26, while HGVs had a one in 68 chance.
On the upside, the study also showed that 54% of car drivers felt vans played an important role in the economy and 15% considered white van men had an undeserved reputation. A hard core 3% of car drivers said whatever van drivers did to improve their driving; they would still have a bad opinion of them.
“White van man is associated with bad driving, but the statistics do not bear out that belief,” said RAC spokesman Simon Williams.
As a specialist van insurance broker, we are happy to see that the reputation of the white van man is not warranted like some people believe it to be. Although van drivers are safer than most people believe it is still a lawful requirement to be insured.
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