There has been a massive surge in the number of companies reviewing their duty-of-care procedures for grey fleet drivers in advance of the Corporate Manslaughter Act, which comes into force next week.
According to research published this week, nearly three-quarters of fleets are currently involved in, or have completed, a review process on drivers who use their own cars for business.
This is in stark contrast to six months ago, when only a quarter had taken any action.
The findings are part of leasing giant Arval’s regular research into the subject, and shows that fleet managers are taking steps to ensure their firms and employees are adequately covered before the new Act.
The survey found that since the original research in October 2007, 46% of respondents are currently reviewing their grey fleet duty of care, and a further 22% have already completed a review.
Of these, 9% have not only completed a review but have already implemented the necessary changes.
Jenny Powley, Arval director, large corporate group, said: “Our original findings showed that grey fleet vehicles are not subject to the same rigorous reporting and inspection procedures as company cars, so it is encouraging that this new research has highlighted that the grey fleet safety message is starting to have an effect.”
However, the figures show that while reviews are taking place, practical action in key areas is only slowly starting to take effect.
In the most vulnerable areas for grey fleets, 6% more businesses are now checking that drivers have the correct insurance, while 9% more are asking for an MoT certificate for vehicles more than three years old and whether the vehicles are serviced at regular intervals.
“Grey fleet vehicles that are unsafe and not fit for purpose put employees and other road users at risk, so are a big concern to us,” said Ms Powley.
“It’s also important to remember that a safe, well-driven fleet will be more cost effective and less environmentally damaging.”
Although companies have a duty of care to their drivers and should be aware of the consequences of the Corporate Manslaughter Act and health and safety laws, it is not entirely up to fleet managers to police the roadworthiness and fitness for purpose of grey fleet vehicles: the Highway Code is explicit that it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy, regularly serviced, taxed and insured for use.
- Advice for grey fleet operators is part of the Risk in Fleet conference agenda on April 22. See www.riskinfleet.co.uk.