Employers have duty of care to grey fleet drivers
Businesses are facing higher duty of care risks as fleet drivers hand back the keys to their company cars and use a cash allowance to source their own cars instead.
These ‘grey fleet’ drivers then use their private cars for business journeys, creating a duty of care for their employers.
Official figures in the UK reveal a decline of 20,000 in the number of company car drivers in the past year, many of whom will now be driving “older, less regularly serviced” vehicles, according to Licence Check, a company which provides businesses with driving licence checking services.
Licence Check also warns that many of these private cars will be insufficiently insured.
Employers have legal responsibility for grey fleet
Richard Brown, director of sales, Licence Check, said, “Businesses often incorrectly assume that, because the vehicle is owned by the driver and not the company, they are exempt from any responsibility. However, that completely ignores their legal obligation to ensure that grey fleet vehicles are reasonably safe to use, are fit for purpose and are lawfully on the road.”
Research by Licence Check has found that the most common penalty points on the driving licences of grey fleet drivers are for speeding, offences such as bald tyres, defective brakes or carrying an unsafe load, as well as insurance offences, such as vehicles uninsured against third party risks.
“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,” said Brown.
Grey fleet solution
Licence Check operates the cloud-based Driver and Vehicle Information Solution brand, DAVIS, to help manage driver and vehicle fleet compliance. The system can check grey fleet vehicles have appropriate road tax and MOT test, as well as insurance for business use.
“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,” said Brown.