Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

Author Bio ▼

Ian joined Informa (formerly UBM) in 2018 as the Editor of Safety & Health Practitioner. Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming.

Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in business to business trade print media, in the automotive sector. He was Online Editor and then moved on to be the Editor of two publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.

November 5, 2019

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Gret fleets

‘Baffling’ grey fleets could lead to safety issues for businesses

The confusion surrounding so called grey fleets could lead to uninsured drivers and unsafe vehicles on Britain’s roads. That’s according to Malcolm Maycock, Managing Director of Licence Bureau.

busy traffic on uk motorway roadA term coined some 18 years ago, a ‘Grey fleet’ simply describes any vehicles that do not belong to the company, but which are used for business travel. This can include vehicles purchased via an employee ownership scheme, privately rented vehicles or vehicles privately owned by an employee.

Licence Bureau, a supplier driving licence validation services, suggests that the issue of grey fleets is continuing to ‘baffle’ businesses across the UK. It says that many firms have little, or no, awareness of the implications of drivers using their own vehicles for business purposes.

Research carried out by Licence Bureau discovered that 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.

A 2017 study from TomTom Telematics, which surveyed senior managers at 400 UK-based firms, also found only 43% checked license and insurance documentation more than once every six months.

With trends like remote working and a more transient workforce, continue to evolve, the company says that the challenges are going to become increasingly more complex moving forward.

Acknowledged and understood

Almost all businesses have some form of grey fleet in operation. Malcolm Maycock, Managing Director of Licence Bureau, said: “There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with operating a grey fleet, 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.”

It is estimated that there are around 14 million vehicles ‘grey fleet’ 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.

“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,” concluded Malcolm.

Driving for Better Safety - Free eBook download

With employees who drive for business more likely to be killed at work than deep sea divers or coal miners, driver safety is a vital business consideration.

Download this eBook from Driving for Better Business and SHP to cover:

  • The danger of the roads;
  • Comparing road safety in the UK to the rest of Europe;
  • Decreasing risk: Avoiding accidents;
  • Road safety best practice;
  • What is fleet risk?
  • Managing work-related road safety.
Driver Safety eBook cover

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