Employers must get a grip on ‘grey fleet’

Privately-owned vehicles are now the main form of transport used by businesses, but rising costs, safety issues and potential legal problems are leaving employers exposed.

According to figures released by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, more than one in three workers (35%) use their own car for business purposes. Almost half (44%) of employers said that private vehicles were the primary form of transport used in their business.

Known as the ‘grey fleet’, these privately-owned vehicles tend to be older and less well maintained than leased or rented vehicles. And as more and more employees use them, the cost and legal implications for employers have grown. Staff driving unfit vehicles or failing to take out business insurance pose a particular threat to employers.

Spencer King, corporate communications manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, said employers must ask employees to provide valid insurance documents before using a privately-owned vehicle for business purposes. He recommends tying this in with other annual checks, such as vehicle maintenance and a driving licence review.

King said that to regulate grey fleets, employers should:

  • Get an accurate picture of their grey fleet: They need to find out where the miles are being put in, by whom, and at what cost to the business.
  • Decide on the alternatives to a grey fleet: but only those that fit in with the company’s business objectives. These need to work in both economic and operational terms. An integrated system, combining public transport and rental cars, might be the best option.
  • Step up communication: Minimising the risks associated with the grey fleet is about changing habits, and employees need to know why they have to change.

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