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The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.

Light vans and minibuses

Light vans and minibuses

There is relatively limited data in Europe on lights good vehicle crashes. In-depth work has been carried out in Britain [109] and Germany [117] which forms the basis of information in this section.

  • Casualties: Research in the UK indicates that LGV casualties comprise around 4% of total fatal or seriously injured vehicle occupant casualties, with over 80% comprising drivers. The majority of crashes involved a car (46%). German research indicates what while vehicles do not necessarily have a higher crash rate than other motor vehicles, crashes tend to occur in predominantly urban environments.
  • Crash types: UK and German studies both found that respectively around 59% and 60% of the crashes with passenger cars were frontal impacts and 14% and 26% were side impacts. In the British study around 22% were rollovers and 16% in Germany were rear impacts as opposed to 4% of cases in Britain. Evidence for belt use by drivers in such vehicles was relatively low, in the order of 20% in Germany and 47% in Britain.
  • Key issues: The UK in-depth study of around 500 light goods vehicle (up to 3500 kg GVM) crashes indicates three key issues for LGVdesign:

Poor crash compatibility between LGVs and passenger cars In car-to-LGV crashes in Britain, car drivers bear greatest risk of injury at every level of severity. LGVs tend to have greater size and mass and usually have their stiff structures at a greater height than those of passenger cars. This misalignment of stiff structures can result in the large vehicle over-riding the smaller vehicle. This in turn has the effect of penalising the occupants of the smaller collision partner, since there is an inherent risk of greater intrusion in the smaller vehicles that are already at a mass disadvantage. Further research is required to derive a 'best outcome' scenario to guide future design..

Low restraint use amongst LGV occupants compared with car occupants in fatal crashes in Britain, 77% were not wearing seat belts and around one-third of drivers and almost half of passengers were found not to have been wearing the seat belt at the time of the crash. Possibilities for increasing seat belt use include the use of in-vehicle seat belt reminder systems; higher profile awareness and education programmes; stricter policing and enforcement actions; and a review of the categories of occupants who are currently exempted from the mandatory wearing of seat belts.

The implications of introducing a regulatory compliance crash test for LGVs.

The available data do not appear to support a particular case for either an offset or fully distributed frontal crash-test requirement since both crash types occur with roughly equal frequencies (36% and 37%) and with similar injury outcomes. Any regulatory crash-testing option needs to take strong account of LGV to car compatibility needs.