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New guide published on grey fleet management

Date: 29 June 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Advice has been issued on how to run grey fleets effectively, and the wide-ranging benefits of doing so. Sean Keywood reports.

A new whitepaper has been published on the importance of managing the risks associated with grey fleets.

Produced by risk management and driver training company DriveTech, it argues that there are fundamental reasons for good grey fleet management, including it being necessary under health and safety legislation, and that it makes financial sense.

On the first point, the paper explains that an organisation has the same duty of care towards grey fleet drivers as those driving company-owned or leased vehicles, and that both the police and the Health and Safety Executive could take action - typically after a collision has occurred - if they suspect that an organisation is being negligent in the management of its drivers making any work-related journeys, including grey fleet drivers. 

When it comes to finance, the paper says that if grey fleet policies and procedures are not watertight and enforced, costs can spiral out of control.

"It's common for fleet and risk managers to focus on the insured and easily identified uninsured costs, such as 'collisional damage' and direct costs associated with any excess or deductibles," it states.

"But it's the potential impact of the 'hidden' uninsured losses including those associated with absenteeism and reputational damage that are far more important.

"The 'hidden' uninsured losses that are associated with collisions do not differentiate between vehicle ownership, but it makes good business sense to manage all employees in the same way irrespective of whether the company or the driver is paying for insurance."

The paper says cost savings from better grey fleet management can include a reduction in running costs such as fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance from better driving standards, fewer working days lost due to injury, reduced risk of work-related ill health, less need for investigation and paperwork, less chance that reputation will be damaged, less chance of key employees being banned from driving and fewer civil action cases.

To effectively manage the safety of a grey fleet, the paper argues that a company must first identify the number and type of vehicles there are, and what the vehicles are being used for.

It states, "This exercise can often be complex, as it may reveal a significant number of employees that they have never considered to be 'drivers' and so are not aware of the company policies or procedures in place that relate to driving for work.

"As many journeys that are undertaken by grey fleet are on an ad-hoc basis, this aspect can produce surprising numbers of grey fleet drivers for companies. 

"Identifying grey fleet within a company should not be seen as a 'box ticking' exercise but instead as the start of a process to highlight their commitment to the safety of its employees, as well as their legal and moral obligations."

The paper says that once an organisation has gathered this information, it can implement a comprehensive driver safety management programme, which will typically fall into two distinct areas - vehicles and drivers.

For the former, it says organisations must keep track of the vehicles used by their employees and records relating to their use and the people who are driving them, including insurance details with business cover, vehicle maintenance checks, road tax validity and roadworthiness.

For drivers, risks to be managed include licence validity, health, alcohol or drug use, age and experience, and driver behaviours such as speeding and using a mobile phone.

DriveTech says it can help organisations manage grey fleets by providing online solutions that enable them not only to identify and track the vehicles involved, but also the vehicle and driver documentation and milestone dates for insurance, MOT and road tax.

The company's head of marketing, Colin Paterson, said the whitepaper complemented others it has previously produced on subjects including the financial effect of driver coaching and the impact of driver behaviour of running costs.

He added, "These are all intended to be useful and practical support to any fleet manager, HR director or other fleet management professional to help inform and steer their policy considerations.

"Grey fleet still remains an all too often overlooked area but is nevertheless still critical to the safe and efficient management of an organisation's drivers."

The whitepaper is available to download from the UK fleet news and resources section of the DriveTech website.