Research/studies Transportation Transportation

Safety tech on delivery vans would bring big benefits, insurance institute says

Photo: THEPALMER/gettyimages

Arlington, VA — Installing various safety features on light vans used in e-commerce could yield a nearly 40% reduction in fatal crashes involving the vehicles, according to a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

IIHS researchers analyzed federal crash data from 2016 to 2021. They placed special emphasis on the light vans commonly used by e-commerce companies to deliver products to customers.

The researchers estimated the average annual total crashes in which light vans were involved. They then calculated the proportion in which four safety technologies – front crash prevention, lane departure prevention, blind spot detection and intelligent speed assistance – “might help the driver prevent crashes or mitigate their severity.”

Results show that the technologies, when combined, could reduce up to 37% of fatal crashes involving e-commerce vans, 26% of police-reported crashes and 22% of crashes causing injuries. Front crash prevention that includes pedestrian and cyclist detection could prevent up to 19% of fatal crashes involving the vehicles.

“Equipping delivery vans with these technologies would deliver big safety benefits,” IIHS President David Harkey said in a press release. “These vehicles are growing rapidly in number and are more dangerous to other road users because of their large size.”

Harkey added that manufacturers should make these technologies standard equipment “as soon as possible, and fleet owners should explore aftermarket products for their current delivery vans.”

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