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British women ask the white van man to slow down

30 June 2011
More than two thirds (69%) of British women want van drivers to be forced to slow down according to a new survey from Campaign for Better Transport.

Six out of ten (61%) people questioned want to see vans fitted with speed restrictors similar to those on lorries and buses, with more women in favour of the idea then men (69% versus 52%) and seven out of ten (72%) over 65s in support of the idea.

Speed limiters restrict the maximum speed at which a vehicle can travel and mean reduced vehicle emissions, improved road safety and lower fuel consumption. Vans are currently responsible for 12 per cent of the UK’s road transport greenhouse gas emissions and accounted for 1,178 accidents, 26 of them fatal, in 2009.

Almost half (47%) of those questioned as part of the survey believe that if speed limiters for vans were to be introduced they should restrict to vans to 56 mph, whilst two fifths (41%) would favour a 70 mph limit.

Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, said: “Speed limiters have been shown to reduce accidents and lower carbon emissions and the UK Government should be leading the way in extending their use to include vans. Our survey shows that a substantial majority of the public support the idea. It’s hardly revolutionary stuff, a number of British companies such as Royal Mail and British Gas have already installed limiters on their fleets.”

Nina Renshaw, deputy director of Transport&Environment, said: “Brits are not alone, even the speed-loving Italians and Germans have said they want to see speed limiters on vans. The EU should get a move on and close the loophole that has allowed vans to drive at dangerous speeds while other professional vehicles, like lorries and buses, have been speed limited for years."

The European Commission has already promised to look at introducing speed limiters for vans across Europe. Campaign for Better Transport is urging the Government to lead the way and push for measures which meet the UK’s need to improve safety and cut emissions.

Notes to Editors

1. ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 2005 adults aged 18+ over two waves on its telephone (CATI) omnibus between 27 May and June 2011. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM research is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information can be found at www.icmresearch.com

2. The survey found that 61 per cent of respondents believed that all vans should be required to be fitted with a speed limiter, rising to 72 per cent among those aged 65 and over. Women were much more in favour of the idea then men (69% versus 52%). 47 per cent believe that if speed limiters for vans were to be introduced then the speed should be 56mph, whilst 41 per cent favoured a 70 mph limit. Support for the 56mph speed limit increased with age from a 36 per cent of 18-24 year olds to almost 55 per cent of those aged 65 and over. Meanwhile support for the 70 mph speed limit is greater amongst men, and younger age groups.

3. Speed limiters would help reduce emissions by between 4 and 7 per cent, depending on the maximum speed enforced, and up to 16 per cent once engine downsizing is included (source: Fuel efficient vans would be cheaper to buy and run, Transport&Environment).

4. Light good vehicles are responsible for 12 per cent of the UK’s road transport greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 when the last Department for Transport figures were available.

5. Light goods vehicles were involved in 1,178 accidents in 2009, 342 resulted in serious injuries and 26 were fatal (latest available figures from the Department for Transport and the Office of National Statistics).

6. Nine out of ten Italians, and a similar number of Germans, are in favour of vans being fitted with compulsory speed limiters http://www.transportenvironment.org/News/2011/5/First-Germans-now-speed-loving-Italians-want-van-speed-limiters/

7. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).