Employers face safety concerns with cash-for-car schemes

Employees who have opted out of company car schemes in favour of ‘cash for car’ programmes may be using unsafe vehicles for business.

This could result in employers facing legal action resulting from any employee car-related death or personal injury.

Car fleet management company Masterlease says about one-quarter of business drivers on the road had opted out of company schemes, leaving their bosses with no way of checking the safety and suitability of the vehicles they now use for business.

Drawing on figures from the latest NOP Automobile Survey, Masterlease said more than 50% of existing opt-out drivers chose secondhand cars and, of this figure, 22% went for used cars that were more than three years old.

These statistics, Masterlease argued, set a worrying trend in terms of a company’s duty of care.

“Companies should simply say ‘no’ to employees who want to use their own vehicles for business unless the business has in place rigorous tests to examine the cars’ suitability and road-worthiness,” said Masterlease managing director Garry Hobson.

He said government plans to “come down hard” on businesses that flaunt the duty of care regulations under its proposed corporate manslaughter legislation was another reason to look at company car policies.

Opt-out schemes are also bad news for companies wishing to promote a green agenda, according to Masterlease. It found 72% of opt-out drivers also choose specialist vehicles with larger, more polluting engines as their next car compared with 54% of executive car drivers who remain in company schemes.

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