Fleet News

Industry research: Spotlight on fleet drivers

Drivers’ attitudes towards the company car was one of the topics covered in a major new report.

Carried out by Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance, the study of 10,000 drivers aimed to provide an insight into the way they think and feel about their company cars.

As revealed on this website last week, the Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance study found that company car drivers spend almost a third of their working year – 70 days a year – sitting behind the wheel of their car, mainly due to growing congestion.

The Drivers’ Perspective report gives a valuable insight into the thinking of today’s company driver. Here we present some of its key findings and comments.

Driving mileage and time behind the wheel:

“Although we’ve seen a decrease in business miles, drivers have reported that they are spending more time behind the wheel on business travel. More than half are spending more than two hours a day in company cars and, with journey times increasing and miles driven decreasing, it suggests that ever-increasing congestion and roadworks are a major contributor to the rise.”

Attitudes/perceived value:

“For the fourth year running, women rate the company car more important than men, putting it joint first with a generous holiday allowance.”

The report found that, overall, the importance of the company car against other staff benefits had remained in third place for the past two years, showing the vital role it plays in attracting and retaining staff.

Drivers cite convenience as a major benefit of having a company car. An increasing number of cash allocation employees are returning to the company car. Diesel remains the preferred choice for four out of five respondents but more than half said they would have a dual-fuel vehicle.

Allocation and choice:

“As we have seen an increase in the reallocation of company vehicles this year, it is no surprise that we see a rise in the number of drivers having less choice. However, the majority of drivers remain satisfied with their current company car. The study found that safety features continue to be the biggest reason for drivers when selecting their company car, with fuel economy and suitability for job at second and third place.”

Fuel payments and tax:

A third of company car drivers do not forward VAT receipts for fuel with their business mileage expense claims, something HMRC requires fleets to do since January this year. Most employers only pay for business fuel, but where they do pay for private fuel, three-quarters of drivers do not know how many private miles they need to cover to benefit.

Company car taxation:

“Overall, company car drivers believe the emissions-based tax system is a good idea.

The majority of employees seem to be aware of their tax cost when they first choose a car, but over time forget the actual impact as the costs are taken via their tax code.”

Of those drivers who know what tax they pay for the private use of their vehicle, more than half believe it to be unfair.

Habits and opinions:

The majority of respondents admitted to driving at higher speeds, with most believing 80mph to be a realistic limit.

A total of 30% of male respondents believe the motorway speed limit should be 90mph-plus, compared to 12% of females. Almost three-quarters believe there should be a limit of 20mph around schools.

More than half feel increased work pressure and deadlines cause people to drive faster and less safely. The report adds: “On a positive note, this year there is a significant improvement in the number of drivers taking breaks every three hours or less.”

Managing risk

“As we revealed last year, employers still appear to be failing when it comes to duty of care.”

A total of 70% of drivers were not having their licences checked annually and more than two-thirds said they did not have a driver training policy.

It also seems that employees are reluctant to reveal bad driving habits, with nearly three-quarters claiming they had had no accidents in the past five years.

  • For details of how to obtain a copy of the report, email anoushka_cogan@bankofscotland.co.uk.
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