Despite being some 18 years in the making, the issue of grey fleets continues to ‘baffle’ businesses across the UK with many having little, if any, awareness of the implications of drivers using their own vehicles for business purposes.
And the challenges are likely to get increasingly complex as more people use their own vehicle for work purposes and business trends, such as remote working and a more transient workforce, continue to evolve.
That is the warning being issued by Licence Bureau, the UK’s number one supplier of Driver Licence validation services, which suggests that almost all businesses have some form of grey fleet in operation despite many unaware of the fact and the potential implications it has on the business.
‘There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with operating a grey fleet,’ said Malcolm Maycock, managing director of Licence Bureau, ‘but therein lies the challenge – a grey fleet needs to first and foremost be acknowledged and understood, and then ‘operated’ rather than just left to chance.
‘Crucially for businesses, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work, including whilst driving for work, of their employees. There is simply no excuse for companies to allow staff – unwittingly or otherwise – to drive around unchecked in their own vehicles and that includes office based and the increasing number of remote workers.’
With an estimated grey fleet of 14 million vehicles in use across the UK covering some 12 billion business miles annually, and a predicted 11% reduction in company cars in circulation by the end of 2019, the challenges of grey fleet only appear to be getting greater.
Malcolm continued, ‘It really is a situation that needs addressing by all businesses as negligence is simply not an excuse. Introduce a strict policy to manage the car and the driver or introduce an alternative solution.’
Adding weight to the argument for control of grey fleets and possibly of even greater concern is that Licence Bureau’s own research has highlighted that 10% of grey fleet drivers admit to driving without the necessary business insurance cover; 14% recognise their vehicle service is overdue; and 10% are aware their vehicle needs mechanical attention.
‘We really are at a tipping point where organisations, of all shapes and sizes, need to wake up to the grey fleet challenge and take the necessary steps to address it,’ stated Malcolm.