Police have been given new powers to issue £100 fines to drivers who could find their cars impounded if they fail to pay. They will then have to pay a release top-up fee.
Industry experts say although the clampdown is aimed at persistent offenders, it should prompt fleets to ensure their drivers have the correct insurance for business use.
Mike Waters, head of market analysis at fleet and fuel management company Arval, said: ‘Although fleet managers may initially think this news does not affect them, in reality there is much they should be aware of.
‘Opt-out drivers and those who use their own vehicles for business use could be at risk.
‘Without the capability to check insurance details of this ‘grey fleet’, companies may find their employees are left high and dry if vehicles are impounded because insurance has expired.
‘Companies could be prosecuted if there is no cover for business use.’
Waters said problems could also arise if a fleet’s vehicle and insurance data was not registered and updated regularly with the Motor Insurance Database.
He warned that the police will view company vehicles and drivers as uninsured in exactly the same way as they would with a private individual.
Mr Waters added: ‘The whole issue is symptomatic of a wider fleet management concern.
‘If systems are not in place to monitor all business vehicle mobility issues, companies could find themselves liable under a number of pieces of legislation.
‘In this scenario, a £100 fine or an impounded vehicle could be the least of a fleet’s problems.’
The problem of fleets not properly monitoring drivers’ insurance has been highlighted in a study published by leasing company Alphabet.
Risk and Reward 2007 found that up to half a million UK workers who use their own cars for business trips have some kind of insurance limitation on business use, but a quarter of employers do not check on such drivers’ licences or insurance.