Fleet News

Grey fleet age risk revealed

Eight out of 10 businesses do not restrict the age of private vehicles used for work, a survey suggests.

The ALD Automotive/YouGov survey of UK financial directors reveals that more than 80% of UK businesses employing over 1,000 staff have no restrictions in place regarding the age of private vehicles employees use for business purposes – the so-called grey fleet.

There are an estimated four million employees using private vehicles for work and consequently businesses need to ensure that they have an effective strategy for the management of the grey fleet with particular focus on three key fleet policy areas: financial efficiency, health and safety and environmental sustainability, says ALD.

The company works with businesses to help manage the grey fleet via CARRS – its car allowance road risk solution.

CARRS aims to provide a practical and cost effective online solution via ALD’s online fleet management portal ‘Threesixty’, which provides both protection for companies and their employees.

CARRS generates reminders to fleet managers that include prompting on renewed MOT’s, insurance validation and road tax renewals, to ensure on-going compliance with relevant legislation.

Keith Allen, managing director of ALD Automotive (UK), said: “This survey shows that, despite the high profile given to corporate manslaughter legislation the grey fleet is still a big issue in the UK.

“Whilst some businesses already adopt a policy of only allowing employees to use daily rental vehicles for ad hoc business travel, for others it’s important that formal guidelines for the grey fleet are incorporated into the fleet policy to reduce such risk.”

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  • Mike - 29/08/2012 13:33

    Its interesting that the only companies telling use that there may be a potential risk, but who are unable to inpoint imperical research to back up this hypothetical risk are companies who stand to gain business from the raising of this as a potential issue. Of the corporate manslaughter actions that have been completed, how many directly involved a grey fleet vehicle? As i recall the press most involved company vehicles. given the current trend for lease cars to be utilised on fleet for longer periods and higher mileage what proof exists that they are in fact safer or less of a risk? just because a vehicle is servcied does not make it a safer option. Just more reliable

    • rosco7 - 29/08/2012 16:24

      @Mike - You are probably right that the risk is over stated. But in many cases the reason to impose a limit on the vehicle age, is because some employees would soon winge and moan if a company car was 8 years old, but other employees winge that the company expects their car allowance vehicle to be less than this. Employee's in my experience will use H&S legislation when it suits them to make a point, but play it down when its not in their favour. Human nature I suppose. The truth is that risk is not directly related to the age of the car, but unless a company is going to pay for a full vehicle safety check, then vehicle age is a clear, definable measure that can be easily enforced. It is generally true that newer vehicles tend to be safer, many have ESP systems as standard, better crash protection etc... Whilst understanding that a 10 year old Mercedes S-Class probably has better crash protection than a brand new Skoda Fabia, having an individual consultation with maybe 100's of drivers isn't possible so some generalizations are needed. You mention reliability, and this is important too. The other point, is a company maybe paying some employee's as much or more than £12,000 of cash per annum in order to run their own car, then find they are using a 15 year old Ford Fiesta with a value of £500, if they expect this employee to visit clients, then the company has a right to insist the car is fit and in accordance with the image of the company. After all they are providing the money. With regards to casual drivers, this is always the most difficult. I agree to put an age limit on a driver who doesn't have an allowance and may only need to do the odd business journey is too much. Our policy is that so long as it is less than 4 journey's per year then it is ok, so long as the car is legal and insured for adequate business use. For journey's over 80 miles they get a hire car, as this is generally the break even point where at 45p per mile the private car is more expensive than a hire car. If the rumors are true, there are about a dozen pending court cases involving grey fleet drivers. Mostly these are companies who have ignored previous warnings from the HSE, or where an uninsured grey fleet driver has been involved in a fatal incident and the company didn't have any policies at all. The potential penalty for the company is severe and could be a jail sentence. The irony is that many company car schemes have an age restriction on insured drivers, such as 21 years, or more recently 25 or even 30. Yet on an individual basis a good 19 year old driver maybe safer than a bad 40 year old driver, but a generalization is made, so the age limit on grey fleet cars is hardly unique.

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