Following its recent first time release of crash avoidance ratings for eight vans in the small panel van category, most of which have equivalent passenger versions, Euro NCAP has called for manufacturers to make advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) more widely available.

The organisation rated vans with equipment fitted mostly as optional at extra cost.

Euro NCAP said in a statement: “What was concerning was the lack of availability of vans equipped with these crash avoidance technologies on the market. [We] struggled to source vans fitted with these options for the testing.

“In the case of [Platinum rating] winners, only the Volkswagen ID.Buzz Cargo has this safety technology fitted as standard; on the Mercedes [Citan], it is still a cost option.”

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“Van manufacturers often offer safety technologies but rarely encourage buyers to specify this vital equipment that could save lives. By making customers pay for extra safety technology without promoting the benefits, safety technology becomes a bargaining tool.

“There is overwhelming evidence that this safety technology reduces crashes, deaths, and injuries, protecting drivers and other road users, and therefore we believe businesses ignoring these options are failing in their corporate social responsibilities (CSR).”

In general, Euro NCAP noted, smaller panel vans are better equipped with safety assistance technologies than larger cargo vans due to their proximity in size to passenger cars and their sometimes use as a crossover into the passenger segment.

The range of safety technologies it expects to be included in vehicles covers advanced autonomous emergency braking technologies (AEB) for car to car, pedestrian and cyclist, lane support systems, speed assistance, and attention assist.

“Despite the good results, there is still further progress to be made,” Euro NCAP said.

New EU rules on ADAS come into effect in the General Safety Regulations (GSR) next July.

When GSR comes into force, it was expected van makers would need to ensure this N1 category of vehicle has some of these safety technologies fitted as standard,” Euro NCAP said.

“However, [our] philosophy is to insist manufacturers deliver beyond legislation to ensure the industry meets Vision Zero targets with performance much higher than the GSR targets.

“Euro NCAP will continue to push for better van safety when it launches the ADAS safety performance of larger vans in July.”