The value of safety

Steps taken to increase the traffic safety of delivery vehicles

Delivery vans combine the haulage space of light commercial vehicles with the flexibility and performance of passenger cars – no need for a special driver’s license. Although the accident risk for delivery vans is still higher than for passenger cars, the actual number of accidents for these vehicles has not continued to increase, as was the case in the past. And this despite the fact that greater numbers of delivery vehicles are taking to the streets. The Steinbeis Innovation Center for Logistics and Sustainability has outlined new measures and certification programs to improve the traffic safety of delivery vehicles. Their research project also identified steps that have already been taken to increase safety, and to what extent these have been effective.

Steinbeis experts surveyed 116 drivers, program providers, companies, vehicle manufacturers and rental agencies. The results of the survey showed that, on the whole, drivers don’t have any special qualifications for handling delivery vehicles – they generally only hold a standard class B (3) driver’s license. With 40% of traffic violations resulting from speeding, this is the most common cause for complaints.

According to program providers, there are several reasons why so few drivers participate in supplementary training programs. The field of couriers and express mail/packaging services leaves little time for training programs. Add to this the tight budgets common in the industry. Nevertheless, many companies do offer a variety of seminars, especially with respect to properly securing loads. Most companies see this as a particularly important starting point for improvement. Measures implemented to increase traffic safety for delivery vehicles should also be extended to the manual trades.

Vehicle safety is a major issue for manufacturing companies. Delivery van safety features have been continually improved in recent years, and manufacturers are starting to promote customer training programs for these vehicles. But in most cases, customers aren’t prepared to pay a higher price for the van, which would cover the cost of vehiclespecific traffic safety.

Rental agencies would argue that the active and passive safety features of delivery vehicles have dramatically improved over the last ten years, and this influences the purchasing decisions of the agencies. Business made through private customers is perhaps the most problematic, as safety-related vehicle features mean very little to this group. Improvements in traffic safety will only truly become effective when all user groups understand that driving a delivery vehicle is not directly comparable with operating a passenger car. Steps taken to improve vehicle traffic safety must be planned for the long term, especially at the driver’s level. In fact, in this area, much more needs to be done.

The Steinbeis Innovation Center for Logistics and Sustainability (SLN) in Sinsheim conducts certified analyses and works on customized solutions in defining projects for logistical business management for both public and private clients. The center sees itself as a lynchpin between the traffic and transport sciences.


Jens-Jochen Roth
Steinbeis Innovation Center Logistics and Sustainability (Sinsheim)

The project report has been published under the title “Measures to Increase the Traffic Safety of Delivery Vehicles” (German: Maßnahmen zur Erhöhung der Verkehrssicherheit von Kleintransportern) and can be purchased through book sellers.

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