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Fleets warned of compliance risk from increase in grey fleet drivers

Date: 26 February 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

An increase in the number of grey fleet drivers has raised the compliance risks their employers face and added to the importance of having appropriate policies and procedures, according to Licence Check. 

The firm says that with statistics showing a decline in company car numbers, many drivers will have switched to using their own cars on company business - vehicles that are typically older, less regularly serviced, more polluting and can be incorrectly insured. 

Licence Check warns that despite this widespread use, many companies fail to recognise they have a legal obligation to ensure grey fleet cars are reasonably safe, fit for purpose and lawfully on the road - and that the company is culpable in the event of accidents that occur in such vehicles.

Licence Check director of sales Richard Brown said: "Businesses often incorrectly assume that, because the vehicle is owned by the driver and not the company, they are exempt from any responsibility. 

"Employers put themselves at risk of claims by third parties if employees are driving on company business and are involved in an accident, without having proper business insurance cover. 

"Equally, there is a risk that employees who are driving vehicles that are not roadworthy could cause harm to others, which could lead to the employer being prosecuted and heavily fined if they do not have a robust grey fleet policy in place." 

Brown said it was important not to forget grey fleet drivers in any corporate risk assessment, warning that the proper number and depth of licence checks still needed to be carried out. 

He said: "As we have seen, a growing number of employees are opting for cash allowances and using their own cars on company business due to increases in BIK taxation. 

"Grey fleet drivers should be checked as regularly as if they were company drivers, including confirmation that they have the correct business class insurance and that they are eligible to drive the type of vehicle they are driving." 

As a bonus, Brown added that businesses implementing the correct policies and procedures could also benefit from savings in off-road time due to reduced breakdowns from properly-maintained vehicles.

"The savings achieved will more than justify any investment costs over a fairly short period," he said.