The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is urging a step change in safety improvements to ensure van owners meet safety requirements and avoid fines in a new campaign.

According to the SMMT, 63% of vans stopped by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have a serious mechanical defect, while 93% are overloaded.

The SMMT also said that half of the vehicles stopped posed a safety risk and had to be taken off the road at a cost of around £4000 to its owner each day.

On-the-spot fines range from £100-£5000 or are potentially unlimited for both endorsable and non-endorsable offences.

Following the discovery of poor safety levels, the SMMT has launched a free guidance pack to help van owners take better care of their vehicles and improve road safety while avoiding fines. The pack can be found here.

“Britain’s 3.2 million vans are essential for the smooth running of the economy but their recent safety record is a matter of concern. Vans rack up huge distances and endure significant wear and tear on a daily basis so regular servicing is essential,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

“We’re launching a new campaign to promote maintenance so businesses can take the necessary steps to ensure their vehicles are safe, protecting their drivers and other road users without the need for further fines and regulations,” said Hawes.