Matthew Avery, Chief Research Strategy Officer, Thatcham Research

Matthew Avery’s current role involves liaising with insurers, vehicle manufacturers, legislators and global NCAP initiatives about all aspects of crash testing, with a view to encouraging safer designs and more cost-effective vehicle repairs.

Matthew is also a key technical advisor for UK insurers and works with the Association of British Insurers to advise on new assisted and automated driving technology and its future implications, feeding into new UK Government legalisation around autonomous cars.

Presentation: The world’s only Commercial Van Safety Rating programme - manufacturers are listening

Van sales are increasing and during COVID often the only vehicle on the road was a van; they now represent 11% of market share (DfT and DVLA*). However, increasing numbers of crashes and KSIs are occurring with vans and most of those are in urban conditions where we see the most vulnerable road user fatalities. While almost all new cars have standard fit ADAS which includes AEB and lane support systems, most vans don’t – but these systems can reduce collisions by 25%.

A new rating assessment to encourage ADAS fit has been formulated that reflects the existing Euro NCAP 5 Star ratings. This rating scheme ranges from Platinum to Not Recommended and was launched in 2020, with 95% of UK van models being covered. The initial results had no Platinum rated vehicles, three Golds and five Not Recommended. The new 2022 results saw the first Platinum rated vehicle – and with many other vehicles earning better results it appears that van manufacturers are listening. The testing will continue in 2023, with additional requirements for standard fit to continue to put pressure on manufacturers to further improve van safety.

*DfT and DVLA: VEH0101: Licensed vehicles by body type (quarterly): Great Britain and United Kingdom