Business driving has more than halved in the past decade creating an increase in grey fleet activity, according to Licence Bureau, part of TTC Group.
Figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) show that annual business mileage reduced by more than 50% from 2009 – 2019, while the proportion of company cars on the road also halved during the same period.
Licence Bureau believes the decline, which is evident in the DfT’s National Travel Survey, is likely to have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the changes in work behaviours and patterns.
Just 8% of people in the UK see buses, trains and trams as their primary means of transport, compared with 21% before the pandemic.
Four-in-five (81%) said they would avoid using car-pool services owing to health and safety concerns – up from 42% – and 78% added they would steer clear of ride-hailing services, an increase on 40% when the first lockdown was introduced.
Licence Bureau says the DfT data highlights growing concerns around grey fleet and how an increasing volume of work-related travel is now going unnoticed – exposing businesses to unnecessary risk.
Oliver Raisbeck, commercial director of TTC Group, explained: “Operating a grey fleet per se is not the issue, the challenge lies in how that fleet is managed.
“We experienced a significant uplift in licence checking volumes last year – becoming the first driver licence checking provider to undertake 200,000 checks in a quarter – which shows there is awareness out there and intent to do the right thing, but for every one that takes action, many others continue to turn a blind eye.”
The recent changes in workplace behaviours potentially brings even more associated business risk, not only relative to everyday duty of care obligations but also the little-known fact that ‘cause or permit to drive’ legislation means that penalties can be duplicated for fleet managers should employers request employees to visit the office – which in many cases may no longer be deemed as their ‘place of work’.
Raisbeck said: “Whilst the data indicates significant change in the past decade, there is little doubt the pandemic has accelerated the evolution of the business driving world even further – influencing the activity and requirements of fleets across the board.”
He added: “With the seismic shift in EV adoption now also upon us, businesses really do need to get under the skin of their driver management programmes.”
Licence Bureau’s compliance journey is now integrated into TTC Group’s real time risk management platform TTC Continuum.