The Automobile Association wants greater scrutiny of the safety standards of light commercial vehicles.
The Nissan Urvan, a model available in New Zealand, has received the lowest possible safety rating - one star - in the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP).
The AA says while passenger cars are routinely scoring high safety ratings, commercial vehicles have not been subject to the same level of testing.
It says commercial vehicles account for a large proportion of business and fleet purchases and should provide protection comparable to passenger vehicles.
The AA plans to increase the number of vans and utes it tests.
The Accident Compensation Corporation is backing calls for an improvement in safety standards.
The corporation says its figures show most vans have features that make them less safe than the average car.
It says while anti-lock brakes are now fitted in more than 80% of new cars, just 7% of vans have them.