Licence Check is backing a call by fleet body ACFO for enhanced grey fleet management services due to a rising number of grey fleet drivers.
ACFO recently held a webinar for its members entitled ‘Not so Grey: Managing Opt Out and Private Vehicles’, which is now available for members on its website.
The rising trend of employees opting for cash in lieu of a company car, due to a perceived rising tax burden, makes grey fleet management ever-more critical, says ACFO.
There are around 14 million-plus privately owned vehicles driven on work-related journeys, compared to around 940,000 company cars on the UK’s roads, according to HMRC, with a rising trend of employees opting for cash in lieu of a company car.
One of the key messages from the webinar was that who owns the car is largely irrelevant as the duty of care to manage occupational road risk is the same.
Simon Turner, campaigns director of RoadSafe, which delivers the Driving for Better Business campaign, said in the webinar: “Grey fleet will probably form a vital part of most companies’ future mobility solutions when integrated with other travel and communication options. But it needs to be effectively managed if it is to be successful. Employers must ensure they have well thought-out policies and processes in place and stick to them.”
And, he outlined a number of key areas of focus, including that driver licence checks were essential and that driver policies should be shared with grey fleet drivers, just as they would be with company car drivers.
At the same time, similar driver profiling, assessment and training regimes should be in place for both grey fleet and company car drivers; grey fleet vehicle checks should be undertaken including the status of servicing, MOT and Vehicle Excise Duty; and business insurance should be in place.
“We completely agree with ACFO’s position on the critical need for more effective grey fleet management,” said Richard Brown, director of sales at Licence Check.
Despite the clearly growing numbers, many companies still fail to recognise that they have a legal obligation to ensure grey fleet vehicles are safe to use, fit for purpose and lawfully on the road, and that the company is culpable in the event of accidents that occur in such vehicles, said Brown.
Previous research by Licence Check has shown that after speeding, some of the most common endorsements on the licences of grey fleet drivers were for construction and use offences, such as bald tyres, defective brakes or carrying an unsafe load, and insurance offences, typically vehicles uninsured against third party risks.
It was partly for this reason that Licence Check developed and launched its award-winning, cloud-based Driver and Vehicle Information Solution product, DAVIS, to help manage driver and vehicle fleet compliance including grey fleet management services.
The grey fleet solution within DAVIS manages the compliance around employee-owned vehicles, checking vehicle credentials, such as road tax and MOT, and enabling the easy upload and storage of key documents such as motor insurance policies, as well as checking for the correct level of business use cover.
For organisations looking to implement additional rules for grey fleet drivers, vehicles can be automatically approved or rejected dependent on a variety of factors such as age of vehicle and CO2 emissions, thus increasing grey fleet control.
“Businesses often incorrectly assume that, because the vehicle is owned by the driver and not the company, they are exempt from any responsibility,” said Brown.
“But employers put themselves at risk of claims by third parties if employees are driving on company business and are involved in an accident, without having proper business insurance cover.
“Equally, there is a risk that employees who are driving vehicles that are not roadworthy could cause harm to others, which could lead to the employer being prosecuted and heavily fined if they do not have a robust grey fleet policy in place.”
Brown said it was important not to forget grey fleet drivers in any corporate risk assessment and that the proper number and depth of licence checks needed to be carried out.
He explained: “Grey fleet drivers should be checked as regularly as if they were company drivers, including confirmation that they have the correct business class insurance and that they are eligible to drive the type of vehicle they are driving.”