Some 62% of UK businesses that allow their employees to drive their own cars on company business carry out some form of check to mitigate the risk, with driver licence checks the most common. But more than 16%, almost one in six, carry out no checks at all, a survey suggests.
Meanwhile, smaller fleets are more likely to allow their employees to drive their own cars (93%) on company business than those with more than 100 cars (66%).
These are just some of the findings of a new ‘grey fleet’ study by fleet management specialist, CLM, part of the Maxxia Group, which looked at how aware businesses of differing sizes were of ‘grey fleet‘ issues and how they approached them.
Some 12 billion business miles are said to be driven each year on Britain’s roads by employee-owned or grey fleet cars, which are estimated to be around 14m in number and cost employers more than £5.5bn a year in mileage claims and car allowances.
They have also been shown to be more polluting than new company-provided cars and present more duty of care concerns, as they are unlikely to be so frequently serviced or as well maintained as company vehicles.
The CLM research looked at organisations running company car fleets of three sizes: 100-plus vehicles – 53% of those surveyed; 30-99 vehicles – 19%; and less than 30 vehicles – 28%.
The businesses surveyed fell into four categories: those that had a full-time dedicated fleet manager; those that used an employee who had the fleet as part of their business responsibilities; those that employed a professional fleet management supplier; and those that employed a leasing company.
Respondents were asked: “Does your organisation allow employees to drive their own vehicles for business related journeys?”
Some 74% of those businesses replying said yes, this was allowed. The greatest percentage of positive replies was in fleets of less than 30 vehicles where 93% of businesses allowed employees to use their own vehicles.
This compared with 66% in the 100-plus vehicle category and 50% in the 30-99 vehicle fleet category.
CLM Managing Director, John Kelly, commented: “We are still seeing worrying levels of UK businesses that carry out no checks of any description on employee-owned vehicles.
“This raises all sorts of duty of concern issues, as they are leaving themselves wide open under various aspects of health and safety legislation in the event of a serious accident.”
Current health and safety regulations stipulate that organisations need robust policies in place to ensure that every grey fleet car is fit for purpose, has a valid MoT, is insured for appropriate business use and that the employee has a valid driving licence.
When respondents were asked: “Do you carry out checks to help mitigate risks associated with grey fleet?” some 62% said they carried out regular checks designed to mitigate the risks of using grey fleet vehicles. However, 16% of employers who allow their employees to drive their own vehicle for business carried out no checks at all to mitigate the risk associated with grey fleet.
When it came to the types of checks that were carried out:
- 50% of businesses asked to see driving licences on a regular basis
- 44% of businesses checked that employees had appropriate insurance for their vehicles
- 36% checked that employees’ vehicles had a valid MOT and were in a roadworthy condition
- 30% had used some form of risk assessment and driver training
- 11% used an external organisation to provide a grey fleet management service
The study also looked at the alternatives that companies offered to employees instead of using their own vehicles on company business. Overall, the most popular were:
- Short term hire car - 53%
- Pool car - 45%
- Access to another employee’s car - 34%
- Incentives to cycle, walk or use public transport - 27%
The most popular alternative was a short term hire vehicle. Some 43% of businesses with a dedicated fleet manager offered a rental car; as did 57% of those with a part-time fleet manager; 58% of those with an external fleet management provider; and 63% of those that employed a leasing company.
The next popular alternative was the pool car. Some 48% of businesses with a dedicated fleet manager offered a pool car; as did 29% of those with a part-time fleet manager; 75% of companies with an external fleet management provider; and 38% of those that employed a leasing company.
Some 26% of businesses with a dedicated fleet manager offered the alterative of using another employee’s car; as did 43% with a part-time fleet manager; 42% with a professional fleet management company; and 25% that employed a leasing company. And some 26% of businesses with a dedicated fleet manager offered incentives to use alternatives to the car such as cycling, walking or public transport; as did 19% with a part-time fleet manager; 33% with a professional fleet management company; and 38% that employed a leasing company.
However, 11% of respondents in the smallest fleet category offered no alternative to grey fleet drivers at all, which raised the question of how effectively the grey fleet was being managed, especially if there was no viable alternative offered.
To download a free copy of the report, please click here.