1 in 2 van drivers admit to NOT using hands-free

Van driver talking on mobileMore than half of Britain’s van drivers admit to using their mobile phone behind the wheel without using a hands-free device. This is according to research conducted by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

The study found that van drivers spend an average of 35 minutes on the phone every day, making an average of seven calls a day. 

However, around a quarter (23 percent) of the 500 drivers surveyed admitted their vans are not hands-free enabled, with a third of drivers (33 percent) saying they have the technology but don’t always use it.

Only a quarter (27 percent) said that their van is fitted with hands-free technology and they always use it to make a call while driving.

Risking their livelihood

Van driver making a call

Tougher penalties came into force in March 2017, with motorists caught using a phone while driving receiving a £200 fine and six points on their licence – up from the previous £100 penalty and three points.

Motorists caught using their mobile phone twice or accruing 12 points on their licence risk losing their licence and a fine of up to £1,000 (or £2,500 for lorry drivers). For van drivers, this could ultimately mean the loss of their livelihood.

At the time, transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our message is simple and clear: do not get distracted by your mobile phone while driving. It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users.”

Working With You

Van driver on the phone to head office

Volkswagen Commerical Vehicles offers a Bluetooth hands-free kit as standard across its entire model range, while its vans are also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Sarah Cox, head of marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Our figures show that many van drivers don’t have or aren’t using a Bluetooth hands-free kit behind the wheel – risking not only a fine and potential ban, which would damage business, but, more seriously, a potentially fatal accident.

“As part of our Working With You promise we ensure all our customers have the right accessories and equipment to make their jobs as easy and safe as possible, whether that’s offering flexible van servicing or something as simple as a hands-free kit as standard.”

Clean me! Tidy your van, win more business

Dirty van

In what will be music to the ears of Sadiq Khan, research conducted by Vanarama has revealed how dirty vans are costing tradespeople money.

This follows the news that the Mayor of London is to launch a £23m van scrappage scheme, offering micro-business owners an incentive to buy a cleaner vehicle. Diesel vans not complying with the Euro 6 standard will be forced to pay £12.50 a day to drive in central London, in addition to the standard £11.50 Congestion Charge.

And while the scrappage scheme is focused on cleaner air, the Vanamara research would suggest that a tradesperson using a tired van might be missing out on lucrative jobs. 

Indeed, 75 percent of homeowners said that they would be less likely to offer a job to a business using a van that has seen better days. Furthermore, 70 percent of those surveyed said that they wouldn’t have any confidence in a tradesperson who arrived in a van without any company branding.

It gets worse for the dirty van drivers, with nearly half of the 1,000 householders surveyed saying that they would assume a below-par van would result in sub-standard workmanship. You might want to think about a visit to the jet wash before you provide an estimate for your next job.

Wash and go

Wash me

Andy Alderson CEO and founder at Vanarama said: “There’s important feedback for tradespeople here: homeowners want a tradesperson to show up, do a good job, and look smart while they’re doing it.

“The data is clear on what you need to do if you want to land the work – get a new van, sign-write it and keep it looking presentable. If you don’t, there are over 700,000 new vans being driven around by other tradespeople looking to swoop in – and 75 percent of homeowners will let them if your van isn’t up to scratch.”

We suspect there’s a snob factor at play here. After all, a clean and tidy van is more likely to impress the curtain-twitchers next door. However, maybe it’s time to give your van a spring clean in the new year.

Housewives and vicars – the changing face of van drivers

Van drivers UK

Pensioners, housewives and vicars – these are some of the people now changing the face of the white van driver… by driving one themselves. New research has revealed the stereotype is dissolving, with Brits of all walks of life picking the previously pigeonholed white van as their vehicle of choice.

The trades no longer dominate the white van market, it would seem. Previously the preserve of builders, painters, carpenters and the like, four in ten vans are now run privately rather than for business. This, based on 700,000 van insurance quotes taken from MoneySuperMarket.

Van drivers UK

Housewives and househusbands run over 14,000 vans. Of course, this is somewhat a cheat given that certain windowed family cars like the Renault Kangoo are still considered vans. Retired people comprise some 31,000 of those quotes.

As for the more curious end of the vocational spectrum, 414 waiters are said to have got quotes as well as a solitary… chicken chaser. There are, would you believe it, 12 footballers that run around in vans. They join the above, as well as 395 students, 260 fish fryers and 48 vicars, priests or reverends.

Interestingly, over 8,000 people every month are redirected to van insurance from car insurance searches. These were informed that their car was, in fact, a van, having put in their vehicle’s details online.

Van drivers UK

Incredibly, the number of vans on UK roads has increased by over 100,000 over the past five years, according to Tom Flack, Editor-in-Chief at MoneySuperMarket.

“Many drivers are unaware that you need a separate van policy. Even if you already have existing car insurance. This is particularly important if the vehicle is used for commercial purposes, which you must state in the policy. Failing to do so can actually make any claim void in the event of an accident.”

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Van insurance costs rise in 2016

Van insurance costs rocket 11.7% in a year

Van insurance costs rise in 2016The cost of insuring a van has vastly outstripped inflation, rising by 11.7% in the 12 months to October 2016.

That’s according to Consumer Intelligence, which reveals the average van insurance policy is now priced at £1,591 – double the typical ‘best-buy premium’ for insuring a car.

Unsurprisingly, under-25s pay the most to insure their vans: a whopping £4,770 a year. However, costs for this age-group have risen by a relatively modest 3.6% – still above inflation, but lower than for van drivers overall.

Rising costs haven’t harmed van sales in the UK, though. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says that 318,664 new vans have left showrooms so far this year – an all-time high. 

Ian Hughes, chief executive of Consumer Intelligence, said: “Van drivers are paying double the average car insurance premium of £788, and with more people using their vans for work that adds to the costs of doing business.”

Consumer Intelligence suggests that drivers opt for ‘carriage of own goods’ cover to save money. This is suitable for ‘workers such as builders, plumbers, carpenters and shopkeepers who commute to work’ and has an average premium of £1,364.

By contrast, drivers who choose ‘social, domestic and pleasure’ insurance are stumping up £2,529, with premiums up by 15% in the past year.

Clarifying the difference between the two types of cover, Mr Hughes said: “Carriage of own goods cover can also include social, domestic and personal use. Drivers opting for social domestic and pleasure use generally have pastimes or hobbies that suit having a van as either their sole vehicle or as a second vehicle.”

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