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Research shows maintenance shortfall with grey fleet cars, Enterprise says

Date: 30 September 2020   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Many drivers who use their own car for work journeys are not conducting basic safety and maintenance checks, and could even be using a vehicle that is not legally safe for business travel.

That's according to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which has conducted a survey of grey fleet drivers.

It found that 54% don't conduct basic safety checks before a long trip, while 19% currently have a warning light showing on the dashboard that they do not plan to have checked.

Regularly missed maintenance checks include tyre tread (32%), tyre pressure (27%), oil level (30%), headlights (32%), and brake lights (35%), while 28% of grey fleet drivers say they have never opened the bonnet.

The survey found that 32% of grey fleet drivers have either been late to a business meeting or missed one entirely due to mechanical issues.

In addition, 57% chose to defer an MOT due to Covid-19, and 6% said their car is only checked at the annual MOT or service.

Enterprise says that the pandemic has led to an increase in the number of journeys classed as business trips, with employees' homes becoming their new place of work.

It says businesses of all sizes should review their employee travel plans to address grey fleet safety issues more specifically, and to put systems in place to monitor work journeys and the vehicles being used, such as its Enterprise Travel Direct platform.

Enterprise assistant vice president of business mobility for the UK and Ireland Paul McCorkell said: "With more people working from home, and data showing that used car demand and prices are both heading upwards post-lockdown, many employees may now plan to buy a second-hand car and use it for business travel.

"Failure to carry out basic safety checks on those vehicles can mean missed meetings - or it could lead to a road accident where the employer may be liable. That's why more organisations should be looking into providing alternative transport options, such as rental and car clubs, where they can be certain every vehicle is always properly maintained and fit for purpose.

"At the very least, employers should have a means in place to track how employees use their own cars for work trips, and a way for drivers to confirm that they've checked their vehicle and it's suitable for the road. That way they can get a sense of the scale of the problem and offer employees a solution even though they have so many other priorities right now."