Vans risk kids’ lives
Work vehicles aren’t good for kids, writes NEIL McDONALD
PARENTS who use their work vans as family transport at weekends are risking their children’s lives. Australian New Car Assessment Program manager Michael Case says most vans still lack proven lifesaving safety features such as anti-skid brakes or electronic stability control.
Case says there are very few vans or utes with these features as standard.
He praises the latest crash-test results for Hyundai’s iMax people mover and iLoad van.
But other carmakers still need to lift safety in their vans and other commercial vehicles, he says.
The iMax and iLoad were crashed at 64km/h to simulate an offset headon collision and earned four stars.
‘‘Hyundai has put considerable effort into improving the safety of its vehicles,’’ Case says.
He says given the lack of safety features in other work vans and utes, it’s not ideal to use them as family transport at weekends.
‘‘That’s of particular concern,’’ he says, despite noting the situation is starting to change.
‘‘There has been a lot of interest among private and fleet car buyers in the performance of passenger vehicles and, more recently, there has been demand from fleet managers for information on commercial vehicles, given the number of models there are and their popularity.
‘‘Part of the problem is that there haven’t been crash-test results for these vehicles, so employers haven’t known their safety ratings. ANCAP has now made this a priority.’’
Of the seven box-style vans tested by ANCAP, three get four stars.
They are the iLoad, MercedesBenz Vito and VW Transporter.
By comparison, the best-selling Toyota Hi-Ace gets only three stars and the popular HiLux ute, which has eclipsed the Commodore for several months as the best-selling vehicle, has four stars.
Anti-skid brakes are optional on most HiLux models, but only standard on the SR5.
‘‘No commercial vehicles have a five-star rating, which requires excellent crash protection plus headprotecting side airbags and electronic stability control,’’ Case says.
Dual front airbags, anti-skid brakes and electronic brake distribution are standard on the iLoad and the iMax.
The iMax also gets stability control, but it’s optional on the iLoad.
‘‘ANCAP noted the iLoad van has a centre front seat that has a twopoint seatbelt and lacks the protection of an airbag, offering inferior protection compared with the other front passenger seat,’’ Case said.