More than a third of consumers (37%) believe van drivers have “lots of bad and inconsiderate driving habits” and 19% think that van drivers are the worst on the road, a new survey has revealed.
The research, by specialist van fleet insurance broker McCarron Coates, found that many members of the public have a negative perception of couriers and van drivers.
For instance, 23% believed van drivers often exhibit bullying behaviour such as tailgating. Additionally, 25% of those interviewed believed van drivers are always in too much of a rush to drive safely and 15% felt that the increase in the number of couriers making deliveries has made towns and cities more dangerous.
Driving behaviour was also criticised: 11% felt that van drivers are the worst offenders at using a mobile while driving and 13% are wary of a van driver with a cluttered dashboard. Meanwhile, 18% doubt that van fleet operators do the daily vehicle checks that the law requires.
Public perception of the phrase ‘white van man’ is also quite negative, with 23% saying that the phrase conjures up an image of a driver typically inconsiderate to motorists, cyclists and other road users, while 16% said van drivers have a poor public image and that is justified.
The survey also discovered that the average consumer has more trust in a van driver at the wheel of an owned vehicle, rather than hired van, and similarly in drivers with signed vans.
Finally, 14% believe the owners of a fleet would be shocked if they knew how their drivers behave on the roads, whilst 13% say van drivers need to think about how their driving reflects on their employer’s – or their own – brand image.
McCarron Coates director, Paul Coates, said: “Our Wise Van Man research highlights the areas that fleet operators should be considering, to improve their drivers’ performance and behaviour on the road, increase safety and lower premiums. However, it goes further than this, adding value by highlighting why fleets need to consider how driver behaviours affect their public image and brand reputation.”
Ian McCarron, director at McCarron Coates, added: “Our survey sought to generate insights that can assist van fleet operators and individual van drivers wishing to improve their risk and reduce their insurance premiums.
“By focusing on how they are perceived and the actions they can take to change those perceptions, van drivers can become a better risk – one which is more attractive to insurers.”