Van owners in the UK are being warned to learn which laws could land them in jail before they get ‘van-ged’ up for putting a dangerous van on the road.
A new study has revealed that more than 80% of van operators are unaware of legislation that makes them the responsible for the roadworthiness of their vehicles.
The survey was undertaken at this year’s Commercial Vehicle Show and a shocking 82% of van owners and operators did not know of their obligations under Corporate Manslaughter legislation.
The law means that should an employee be driving a company vehicle and be involved in an accident which results in serious injury or death, then the owner of the van could be found liable.
This is particularly so should the vehicle be found to be defective in anyway.
The DRIVEit event has the latest vehicles
The study has been released to highlight the DRIVEit@Bruntingthorpe event where van operators can evaluate the latest vehicles and meet the service providers.
Among the attractions will be a knowledge zone which is being hosted by the Institute of Car Fleet Management (ICFM).
Advisers will help attendees from hire companies, small operators and big fleet runners to understand their responsibilities towards their staff driving company vehicles.
In addition, the Vehicle and Operator Standards Agency says that more than 50% of vans will fail their first MOT test.
In addition, older vans show serious faults including structural corrosion.
MoT failures for vans include poor brakes
The agency says that most MOT failures are for brakes, vehicle lighting and steering components – all of which could lead to a serious road traffic accident.
A spokesman for the website that undertook the survey said that poorly maintained vans create a risk to road users and their van owners who are unaware of faults on their vehicles who can be held personally liable.
He added that while van operators could try out new vehicles at the event there was also an opportunity to learn of the simple checks that can be carried out to help prove an employer’s duty of care.
With more than 300,000 vans set to be sold in the UK this year, statistics show that something like 150,000 of them will fail their first MOT with problems that could put drivers as well as road users at risk of serious injury.
In addition, these faults could put the van owner in jail.
For more information about the van driving event which is a major interactive exhibition giving visitors a chance to drive a range of vans, pickups and vehicles under 7.5 t on a range of purpose-built circuits, then visit their website.
Photo: Central Motorway Patrol Group