An inspection of more than 2,000 company and privately-owned cars used on business found that 18% were unroadworthy and 35% were not properly maintained.
The results are produced as part of the latest Total Motion Vehicle Monitor Survey, carried out between January and March this year.
Checks on drivers showed that 6% had invalid licences, 3% had no tax, and 12% of those using private vehicles were not properly insured.
Up to 81% of all drivers admitted to not carrying out the recommended weekly safety checks on items such as tyres, lights, fluids and glass.
The study found that privately-owned cars were more likely to have faults than company vehicles, but all results showed a worsening trend compared to the last quarter of 2005.
The survey was conducted by Total Motion as part of its ‘vehicle monitor’ service.
The appraisals were undertaken by industry-qualified field engineers, who individually inspected 2,018 vehicles for client companies around the UK. Managing director Simon Hill said: ‘Most of these clients do have policies and procedures in place, but the results show that drivers are failing to adhere to them.
Almost half the drivers (42%) said that even if they were monitored on making the basic safety checks, they would tick to say they had done them without actually doing so.’
A total of 68% of drivers questioned also said that they thought on-the-road training was a waste of their time and that it made little or no difference to the way they drove.
Hill added: ‘While the health and safety message is getting through to companies, there is still a big problem with monitoring and enforcement.
‘I believe better driver education, more stringent checks and heavier penalties are required to ensure that drivers take their personal responsibilities for health and safety more seriously.
‘Companies need to support and enable fleet managers to do their jobs properly by giving them the power and the authority to enforce policies and penalise drivers.’
Fleets were warned last month by motoring organisation RAC that more than half of company cars could be on the road illegally due to dangerous faults that would fail an MoT (Fleet NewsNet, April 13).