Drivers who use their own vehicle for work - the grey fleet - are more likely to pose a road safety risk than company car drivers, according to new research from Lex Autolease.
The study found that grey fleet drivers are more likely to engage in illegal behaviours while driving, including using a hand-held mobile phone or reading a map.
The research, involving more than 1,000 drivers, also found that grey fleet drivers are more likely to drive without correct insurance or a valid MOT, or whilst knowing that the vehicle needs some attention.
According to results from the research, 20% of grey fleet drivers have driven while using a hand-held mobile and almost 5% of grey fleet drivers have, at some stage, driven under the influence of recreational drugs.
Paul Coley, principal consultant at Lex Autolease, said: “Aside from the clear road safety risk that this type of behaviour poses, many UK bosses are unaware that they are ultimately liable for these drivers when they’re out on the road for work purposes.”
The study also interviewed nearly 300 company decision-makers with responsibility for managing business vehicles. A third (33%) of those surveyed believed that there was no significant risk to the organisation from an employee using their own vehicle for work. More worryingly, 40% were not fully aware of the employer duty of care regulations within the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and how they impact the grey fleet.
Under current health and safety laws, employers owe the same duty of care to employees driving their own private vehicles for work as they do to employees who drive an organisation’s owned, leased or hired vehicles.
Coley continued: “According to figures from the Department for Transport, tragically almost 2,000 people are killed on our roads every year. Of these, it is estimated that around 25 to 30 per cent are due to accidents involving drivers on work journeys.
“Employers have a legal and a moral responsibility to ensure that their drivers and vehicles meet all legal requirements.
“There are straight-forward vehicle and driver checks and health and safety policies that can be put in place to better manage a grey fleet, which will ensure a company meets its duty of care requirements and help to reduce the road safety risk.”
To read the full grey fleet report, click here.