I was pleased to see the recent Enterprise Rent-A-Car research which showed that the number of grey fleet drivers in smaller businesses has been falling. However, what was worrying was that according to the findings, 40% of the 400 SMEs questioned were still running no document checks at all for employees using their own vehicles on work business. The research also found just a quarter of businesses check the suitability of a grey fleet driver’s vehicle.

All businesses need to take tighter control of this important area and not just because of health and safety concerns. Many organisations are placing a strong focus on their environmental policies at the moment but if they don’t know what vehicles their employees are driving and claiming business mileage on, they could be ignoring a large area of inefficiency.

If you don’t put in place any controls then your employees could, quite literally, be driving anything and claiming business miles against it.

For example, these are all real examples of grey fleet vehicles – a Ferrari 360 Spider, a 1983 Citroen 2CV, an Austin 7, a Jungheinrich forklift truck and a quad bike. Can you believe that someone within an organisation had actually claimed for 900 business miles on a quad bike? The CO2 and fuel implications of these vehicles are beyond a joke, the Ferrari 360 Spider has a CO2 rating of 440g/km and only does 14 miles to the gallon.

These are extreme examples but unless companies have control measures in place, their grey fleet could be costing them from an environmental and a health and safety point of view – it’s simply not worth the risk.

The first thing a business should do is try to understand the scale of the problem. Don’t just label your whole grey fleet as one, categorise the drivers and look at the most effective alternatives based on the mileage, number and frequency of journeys involved. This might involve pool cars, daily rental or a fully expensed company car, all options that can be effectively managed.

If use of a grey fleet vehicle is unavoidable then put clear controls in place about what vehicles are allowed to be used. For example, a company can set limits on CO2 emissions and EuroNCAP ratings.

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