All van operators should make avoiding accidents and injuries their top priority and specify vehicles that offer safety systems that go beyond the bare minimum legal requirement.

Iveco’s latest Daily has such systems available in abundance, which is why we are presenting it with our Safety Award for 2020.

One of the safety devices available on Daily models fitted with the superb Hi-Matic eight-speed automatic transmission is Queue Assist. Hit a button and the Daily will remain at a safe distance from the vehicle in front in urban traffic congestion. The driver can set and adjust the speed and time gap using switches on the steering wheel. It is combined with adaptive cruise control.

Worthy of note too is hill-descent control, which allows drivers to descend long, steep inclines slowly and safely without having to touch the brake pedal. All you need to do to activate it is press a button on the dashboard.

Other safety devices include advanced emergency braking system and city brake PRO, which intervene if there is a hazard and the driver does not apply the brakes in time. They are designed to stop collisions with static objects, when a 3.5t Daily is travelling at between 3mph and 30mph, and with moving objects – the back of a truck on the motorway, for example – at from 3mph to almost 70mph. The technology can lead to a reduction in accidents of almost 38%, says Iveco.

Crosswind assist and proactive lane-keeping assist are on offer too. Installed in vans as well as chassis cabs, the former keeps the Daily stable and prevents it from being blown into an adjacent lane if it encounters a sudden, strong, side wind on the motorway.

“It is especially useful if you are driving over a bridge or passing a large truck,” says Iveco.
The vehicle now features electric power-assisted steering, which the manufacturer says should aid its on-the-road stability.

Proactive lane-keeping assist gives the steering wheel a quick nudge if you begin to daydream and let the vehicle wander over a white line. It prompts you to get back into lane.

Traction Plus, which helps the Daily keep a grip on slippery surfaces such as sand and snow at speeds of up to almost 19mph, is being fitted as well. It brakes the slipping wheel and transfers the torque to give it more grip. If you need to activate it all you have to do is flick a switch.

Iveco has also introduced an electric parking brake. It automatically engages when the van is parked – ensuring the Daily will not roll away on a slope and cause an accident – and disengages when the driver is ready to depart.

It has other advantages too, reckons the manufacturer: it can save up to five hours a month if you happen to be on multi-drop parcel-delivery work – the time it takes to apply and release a handbrake lever umpteen times a day.

The Daily gets automatically activated wipers, its headlights switch to low beam automatically at night if another vehicle is coming towards it – the rear lights of vehicles ahead are detected too – and its LED lights have a much sharper beam that carries further.

They improve visibility and obstacle perception by 15%.

Furthermore, the Daily’s tyre pressure monitoring system should help prevent you from being left stranded at the side of the road with a flat tyre, and even better, ensure there are no premature blow-outs that could result in an accident.

Highly Commended: FTA/CALM mental health campaign

Concerns over mental health in the workplace are increasingly being addressed by UK businesses.

Administered by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the Van Excellence scheme has been tackling the challenge in conjunction with charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). The programme it has launched aims to address the stigma that still surrounds mental illness and raise awareness of the support services available to van drivers who may be uncertain of where to obtain help and advice.

Says Mark Cartwright, the FTA’s then head of vans and light commercial vehicles: “When I heard that suicide is now the biggest killer of men under 45 I was moved to take action. Van drivers often operate in highly pressured and lonely environments, and the combination of tight deadlines and isolation can lead to stress, exhaustion and also poor nutrition.”

With one in five van drivers describing their mental health as poor or very poor, the scheme sees vehicle hire and leasing firms offering packs that promote CALM’s support services to their customers.

Safety - HC Mental Health class=