Back pain among Britain's four million van drivers could be costing the UK economy an average of £21 billion per year, with badly positioned seats often to blame. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles' survey of 500 van drivers, cited on Fleetpoint.org, found that 70% have taken time off work due to 'Builder's Back', with the average length of leave standing at three weeks.
That has an estimated cost to companies of £500 per van per day – adding up to a severe dent in the UK economy.
Chiropractor Prab Chandhok, a member of the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) said: "Many people now point to driving as a trigger for their back or neck pain, so it's really important that your van is set up properly for your needs, to help ease the strain that driving – especially for long periods of time – can have on your back and neck.
"The key thing to remember is that there is no single seat that is perfect for everyone, so it's practical to test the seat out fully before you buy a new vehicle.
"The more adjustable it is the better."
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and the BCA have now issued a diagram containing seven tips to help van drivers adjust their seats correctly, protecting their backs and necks from further strain.
During a day's testing at Volkswagen's Cordwallis Van Centre, half of all van drivers said that they did adjust their seats before taking to the road.
But chiropractors found that in fact, two-thirds had made crucial errors or missed key elements of seat adjustment.
Common mistakes among drivers, who may spend up to seven hours a day in their vans, included positioning the seat too close to the steering wheel and angling it too far back.
Volkswagen Crafter vans also offer 'ergoComfort' and 'ergoActive' seats designed to make adjustment easy and offer optimal back support.
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