Gary Whittam, director of commercial vehicles for Ford of Britain, said the heavy truck industry had already been forced to introduce tachographs, speed limiters and proper training and he believes such moves could soon filter down to the 3.5-tonne sector.
Whittam said: ‘I’d like to see a voluntary tightening up of our industry before the Government does it for us. We have already seen it happening in the truck sector and it could soon happen with vans.
‘Vans are not like cars any more yet they can be driven on a car licence. We must push for more training for drivers and an end to the problem of white van man. About 80% of vans are driven safely but it is the small minority who spoil it. We must get our act together over the whole question of professionalism in our industry.’
Putting his money where his mouth is, Whittam has already organised free driver training for anyone buying Ford minibuses and fleet training schemes are also offered as part of a van buying package.
He added: ‘We are being increasingly asked about driver training packages by fleet buyers. The proactive fleets are realising that if they don’t do something they will be dragged there by legislation.’