As the name suggests, Grey Fleet is not as simple as black and white. And Grey Fleet can pose some real ‘grey areas’ for businesses indeed…
As an employer, making sure that you fulfil your duty of care obligation to employees using their personal vehicles for work can be a difficult task.
What is Grey Fleet?
Grey Fleet is a term used to describe employees who use their own vehicles for business use. Businesses may offer a company car allowance or simply reimburse employees for fuel at a fixed ‘pence per mile’ rate.
The term grey fleet refers to the vehicle and not the group of drivers. So from a duty of care point of view, all drivers should be treated the same, regardless of which vehicle they drive. Organisations can be prosecuted under The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 if they are found to not have sufficient safety procedures in place to protect not just their employees but all road users. So ensuring the safety of your drivers should be a top priority.
One of the biggest issues with grey fleet is the friction it can cause between HR and drivers. On one hand, the HR managers want to be able to maintain a degree of control to comply with safety and CO2 policies. And on the other hand, the employee may want the freedom to drive whatever vehicle they please.
Managing the Driver
Assessing whether or not a driver is fit to drive should be another main focus point for businesses. According to RoSPA, driver error accounts for more than 90% of all road accidents. Therefore more attention should be paid to the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle rather than the vehicle itself. All employees need to be physically and mentally fit in order to be deemed safe behind a wheel.
As a fleet manager, it is important to understand the impact a drivers’ health can have their ability to operate a vehicle. Fatigue, stress, dehydration, depression and eyesight are all factors that need to be properly assessed and monitored.
Other concerns should be regarding the employee’s driving records. Those employees who have points on their licences should be viewed as a greater risk than most. Driving licence checks allow you to keep up to date records on both grey fleet drivers and company vehicle drivers. Manually checking employee records is not only time consuming but can often require grey fleet drivers to openly admit to receiving the point. There have even been cases where employees have been driving for work whilst disqualified.
Managing the Vehicle
The level of control that a fleet manager has over a grey fleet vehicle can be considerably less than the vehicles that are provided by the company. Because grey fleet drivers are responsible for servicing their own vehicles, it is difficult to ensure that these vehicles are being serviced to the same standard as the business owned fleet.
An employee’s vehicle needs to have valid business insurance, tax and an MOT certificate before it can be legally driven on the road. To further meet your duty of care obligation you also need to check that the vehicle has a service history in line with the manufacturer recommendations.
Surprisingly, one in four fleet managers never check whether an employee’s vehicle has a valid MOT. Many businesses will provide a list of ‘approved garages’ for employees to service their vehicle. This can help to ensure that they are being serviced to an acceptable standard.
Other issues occur when trying to dictate vehicle choice to those employees who have opted out of a company car scheme because many will have done so in order to have the freedom of vehicle choice. One of the more reasonable compromises is on safety rating. Many businesses will insist that even grey fleet vehicles have to come with a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
If you allow your drivers to use a hands-free device whilst driving it is vital that you also ensure that all of your grey fleet drivers have a hands-free system installed in their vehicle and supply them with one if not.
A Helping Hand
We understand that managing your grey fleet can be a difficult task. Our experts are on hand to offer comprehensive grey fleet support. We have a range of service available to help you get the most out of your fleet including; online driver licence checks, fleet policy advice, online driver risk assessments and additional driver training.
For further advice on grey fleet management speak to one of our advisors today. Call 01159 466 466 or email [email protected]