UK companies stand accused of being ‘oblivious’ to the safety risks posed by the nation’s 14 million-strong ‘grey fleet’ of company cars following new research carried out by Lex Autolease.

The leasing company surveyed 1400 businesses, company car drivers and employees who use their own car for work, and found that despite the legal implications, only 39% of those responsible for a grey fleet’s management admitted to checking road-worthiness, with an additional 23% only occasionally checking employee’s cars.

That combines disturbingly with  the fact that the Lex Autolease Report on Company Motoring found that more than 70% of the vehicles used for work are more than three years old.

Meanwhile, one-in-five businesses fail to check if employees had the correct insurance in place to use a private car for work purposes. Worse still, 8% admitted not even bothering to check if employees had any insurance in place at all.

“It appears many businesses remain oblivious to the challenges and safety risks associated with employees using their own vehicles for work,” said Lex’s managing director, Tim Porter, who suggested the impact of his company’s investigation into the number of drivers using their own car for work was far greater than
envisaged, and that the revelations represented a “significant risk-management challenge” that needed to be addressed immediately.

It wasn’t all bad news unearthed by the Lex survey, however, as feedback also indicated that the ‘feel-good factor’ is well and truly back and that 20% of fleet managers are planning to upgrade the cars they offer employees to recruit, retain and motivate staff – evidence of an upturn in fortunes for the UK economy.
“Our research proves the attractiveness of a company car to potential employees and
suggests that businesses may need to review their benefits package to ensure they can secure prized talent,” said Porter.

Recording a shift in acceptance among company staff, 43% of all fleet drivers quizzed said they would be happy to have monitoring equipment put in their cars, which is handy because a fifth of fleet managers confirmed that their company would be investing in telematics over the next two years to control costs and help manage their duty of care.

Finally, six out of 10 employees reported that the value, and choice, of company car remained an important factor in any future job offer, cementing the continuing importance of company cars.