Employers, fleet and HR managers should be exercising their duty of care to help their grey fleets to stay safe and legal when driving for work, says the AA.
Approximately 14 million drivers use their own vehicles for work in the UK*, but many employers are unaware of their duty of care in the event of an accident.
Organisations can be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter if an employee is involved in a fatal crash while driving their vehicle for work. But nearly half of fleet managers consider grey fleet management as ‘unimportant’, despite the risks associated with employees using their own cars for business**.
“Driving is the most dangerous activity for most workers during office hours,” says Stuart Thomas, director of fleet and SME services at the AA. “But if your contractor were to have an accident while out on business, would you know who was liable?”
It is also vital for drivers to understand the importance of responsive and responsible driving, including the correct use of technology such as sat navs. It’s illegal to hold a phone or sat nav while driving. Drivers should control sat navs which aren’t built into the car only via a Bluetooth headset, voice command, a dashboard holder or mat or windscreen mount, according to government guidelines.
Responsible driving has risen in significance as an issue for grey fleets since the government increased driving penalties for offences including mobile phone use and speeding, as taking employees off the road could result in substantial periods of business downtime and loss of income. Thomas adds: “Employers and HR managers can share essential information and guidance to help drivers to stay safe and legal on the road within a driver’s handbook, which should be issued to all employees who drive for work.
“This should also note actions drivers should take in the event of an incident in support of the company’s policies and procedures, and is a good place to include information on the prohibition of alcohol and drug use while driving.”
To find out more about the AA’s services for businesses, visit theaa.com/business.