Susan Kramer MP said immediate action was needed to target risk and environmental problems caused by business drivers travelling in their own cars.
New research shows that 83% of firms have no policies in place to ensure grey fleet vehicles are maintained, despite having a duty of care to the drivers.
Speaking at the launch of the research by fleet management company Arval, Ms Kramer said: “This is a very significant topic and one the Government seems to have given a low priority to.
“Many businesses haven’t focused on it either. That’s something that’s got to change.”
Although she said businesses should be looking at ways of avoiding car use when possible, Ms Kramer was realistic. “I recognise that many journeys are going to have to be by car if businesses are going to function,” she said.
She said that although the forthcoming review of approved mileage allowance payments (AMAPs) could persuade drivers opting out of company car schemes to think more about the type of vehicles that they drive, a simple information campaign could be as effective.
“If you’re paying people for every mile that they travel, that could be adjusted according to the kind of car that they drive,” she said.
“But the concept of someone talking to drivers is incredibly successful. If someone were to sit down and talk to drivers about the grey fleet issue, it could be extremely effective.”
Ms Kramer said she shared fleet managers’ concerns about the myriad risks and associated administration linked with managing grey fleets properly.
“We are all concerned about red tape and I understand business concerns about the potentially huge amount of paperwork,” she said.
“But the issue is significant enough that we need a real dialogue between the business community, Health and Safety Executive and Government in general to work out a framework that will provide some progress.
“How do we get an appropriate programme in place that really makes sure that employers and employees understand their role and that Government plays its role without costing businesses a fortune in unnecessary paperwork? The rest of the world has to be convinced that it’s time for action.”