NO MORE GREY AREAS
What you need to know to manage the risk of your ‘grey fleet’.
Managing your ‘grey fleet’
2018 saw the introduction of the WLTP testing regime, and the resulting change in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures. These developments resulted in further rises in company car taxation, which is increasing year-on-year. With all these changes, some employees are questioning the value of a company car.
Allowing company car drivers to use their own [private] vehicle for business use, or a ‘grey fleet’ policy, can provide an alternative solution. However, adoption of this policy does not absolve the company or the fleet manager from their duty of care responsibilities.
So, you want to operate a ‘grey fleet’ policy, but do you have the correct legal framework in place to support this? According to the Department for Transport, over a quarter of road traffic accidents involve someone who is driving for work. Every vehicle – when driven on company business – is still considered a place of work, so health and safety rules still apply.
Therefore, an employer’s legal obligation extends to include employees in their own vehicles while at work, so that they don’t suffer unreasonable or foreseeable harm or loss. Consequently, employees’ own vehicles must be treated in the same way that company cars and drivers are treated.
How to have an effective ‘grey fleet’ policy..
Put someone in charge > Assign ‘grey fleet’ responsibility to a member of staff, to increase policy accountability.
Establish a policy > Ensure everyone knows what is expected and that the policy includes safety guidelines plus a code of conduct.
Conduct a risk assessment > Review employees’ driving records, to identify those who could benefit from driver training. In addition, look at how long employees are spending behind the wheel. Driver training can help make sure ‘grey fleet’ drivers are aware of company expectations while driving for business.
Fit to drive? > Driver licence and documentation checking should be the norm – take particular care that vehicles have the correct business insurance in place, and that MOTs are current if the vehicle is over three years old.
Safe to drive? > Encourage drivers to carry out periodic checks for tyre pressures and tread depth, oil and fluid levels, condition of wiper blades and functioning of lights. These checks should be performed with the same frequency as required of company vehicles. Also, provide clear guidelines to drivers regarding mobile phone usage.
Setting limits > Make sure that you set timetables and journey times that don’t require drivers to exceed speed limits.
Supporting fleet operators
SEAT achieved huge growth in true fleet sales last year – 27% up on the previous year. This growth, which came as the sector shrunk by 8% in a period of unprecedented change in the fleet industry, means the brand has been the fastest growing manufacturer in the sector for the past two years. Aside from an award-winning model range, SEAT is dedicated to making life easier for increasingly under-pressure fleet managers and is working hard to help its customers respond to emerging challenges.
This includes launching an extensive fleet management section of its website, which includes informative and useful content on current topics like ‘grey fleet’ and writing down allowances.
In addition, SEAT is also working on a range of self-help tools, so total cost of ownership and company car tax can be calculated; plus ‘car or cash’ tools to help employees evaluate the benefit of taking a company car – instead of a cash allowance.
To help with a final decision, businesses can benefit from SEAT’s award-winning, extended 4-Day Test Drive, to help find an appropriate solution for their fleet operations.
“Every vehicle - when driven on company business - is considered a place of work, so health and safety rules still apply.”
advertisement feature. Fleet World Magazine June 2019 issue