Vans risk kids’ lives

Work ve­hi­cles aren’t good for kids, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

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