THE archetypal 'White Van Man' has a better safety record than the average company car driver, it has been revealed.
Much-maligned panel van operators are involved in fewer accidents than people driving company cars, according to Professor Peter Cooke of Nottingham Business School.
In a nationwide survey on light commercial vehicle trends, 70% of companies questioned by Cooke's team believed the accident record of their van drivers was as good as, or better than, that of staff with fleet cars.
He said: 'We found this aspect of our research to be very interesting. White van man turns out to be a careful and considerate road user after all.
'But I believe this information has far greater significance than merely dispelling a wide-held belief – it is a potential cost-saver for businesses that are under consistent pressure to cut overheads.'
Speaking at the launch of the trends report for 2004, sponsored by Vauxhall, Cooke said most of the companies surveyed included vehicle cover as part of the insurance for their general business operations.
'I think a little time spent analysing how their premiums are made up might yield some worthwhile cost savings. I am convinced many companies could get better insurance deals – especially as only 5% of the firms we spoke to had specific insurance packages for their commercial vehicle fleets.
'They need to look at comparative insurance costs for cars and vans. The LCV sector has tended to trail in not being treated as a separate entity and I would advise organisations to exercise more care in their insurance and underwriting – it's obvious many are paying a lot more for insurance than they need,' he said.