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Who do we care about the most, company drivers or grey fleet?

Date: 17 March 2015

Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World

Most businesses, with car and van fleets, have a wide range of measures in place to run their company-provided vehicles. Yet far fewer have fully got to grips with their grey fleet.

In the priority stakes it looks like many businesses see the company-provided vehicles as priority number 1 and grey fleet as number 2. For example, at E-Training World, we often hear people saying to us, "We'll risk assess and train the main drivers first and then look at grey fleet next."

The reason, as I see it, is because everyone's focus is on the company vehicles. Yet, put a company car driver next to a grey fleet driver, and for the purposes of this debate lets assume they both have a new BMW 3 series. Now what is the difference? They are both going to be driving as part of their work duties. They are both doing so at the company's expense. They are in identical cars. The company is responsible for their safety while on that journey.

It therefore drills down to the fact that in a file somewhere sits some paperwork that states that one car is provided by the business and the other isn't.

But that very small detail is influencing many companies' views of their fleet operation and at-work drivers.

So, this term 'grey fleet' is a bit of distraction really. Dare I say it tags a group of drivers as being of lesser importance, and even the word 'grey' has connotations of being dull and less significant.

But what do we do about it?

I believe education is fundamental, as many companies still seem to be in the dark (or are choosing to bury their heads in the sand) over their responsibilities for drivers who use their own vehicles at work.

Terminology is another and, whilst I fear its too late, I would like to see the term 'Grey Fleet' disappear from our vocabulary, instead talking about 'at-work drivers' as a common group - irrespective of who has provided their car or van.

Finally, I would like to dispel any myth that grey fleet drivers should be treated any differently to company vehicle drivers. Yes, the vehicle needs managing differently. But the person's safety and well-being should be valued the same - irrespective of who's name is on the log book!