Fleet News

Call for van training

FOUR motoring organisations in Germany have joined forces to offer the country's van drivers training in a bid to reduce the number of accidents on the road.

Currently, 2.3 million LCVs use Germany's roads and were involved in almost 20,700 injury accidents in 2001.

Officials have been putting these accidents under the spotlight to find out what caused them.

Now the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), German Automobile Club (ADAC), the Association of Motor Vehicle Importers (VDIK), German Road Safety Council (DVR), have launched a programme aimed at promoting driver safety.

VDA president Professor Bernd Gottschalk said: 'The important thing is for van drivers to undergo professional training so traffic safety will be increased. A speed limit for vans would be the wrong approach and would not lead anywhere.'

Both the VDA and the VDIK say they are also working to ensure that LCVs across Europe are fitted with ABS, a driver's airbag and load safety systems as standard.

But they say driver error is also often to blame for accidents and the country's manufacturers need to offer driver training to customers buying new vans.

VDIK president Volker Lange said: 'We are worried about the rising number of accidents involving vans. However, a general speed limit will not solve the problem. Instead we have to increase investment in training for drivers, precisely in the areas of load safety and driving behaviour.'

DVR president, Professor Manfred Bandmann, added: 'The aim of the drivers' safety training program is that dangerous situations should be recognised and avoided, while taking into account the limitations of both drivers and their vehicles.'

The associations say part of the problem is that van drivers only need a basic driver's licence, even if they tow a trailer. Many drivers are unaware of how to secure a load and what effect that load will have on the van's driving behaviour.

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