The safety of fleet drivers is being impacted by an increasing move away from company cars and a rising number of employees taking cash allowances and increases in on-demand vehicle rental.
The call for a renewed focus on corporate vehicle safety as traditional car ownership model changes comes from Martyn Nash, chairman of vGroup International and a director of Driver First Assist, a non-profit organisation, which trains professional drivers to provide life-saving first aid and manage the scene at a road traffic collision, prior to the arrival of the emergency services.
He said: “Changes in vehicle ownership, particularly the move away from company cars, could result in employers absolving themselves of what is a legal health and safety responsibility for all employees driving on business irrespective of who owns the vehicle.
“Employee mobility is fast becoming a buzzword in the corporate sector and that embraces use of car clubs, vehicle rental and car usage via on-demand providers. We are also seeing a rise in car sharing and possibly a return of pool cars in some businesses.
“The more vehicle ownership moves away from the corporate umbrella there is a risk that road safety is being undermined and that includes delays in own vehicle drivers replacing worn safety items such as brakes and tyres due to cost.”
The term ‘grey fleet’ is now used to describe any vehicles that do not belong to a company, but which are used for business travel. Consequently, grey fleet also includes those vehicles bought via an employee ownership scheme, a privately-rented vehicle as well as privately-owned vehicles.
In April this year, fleet association ACFO has urged companies to introduce enhanced grey fleet management polices due to a rising number of grey fleet drivers.
A report published last year by Lex Autolease found that approximately 14 million drivers use their own vehicles for work in the UK, but many employers are unaware of their duty of care to these employees.
Grey fleet can be a cost and duty of care nightmare for organisations, but how does your operation measure up? Try the Fleet News quiz to find out how good yours is – or whether you need to take action to improve it.