The odds of the following scenario actually happening in most companies across the UK are pretty high.
Picture this: It’s a busy day in the office, there’s the need for some parcels to be sent a.s.a.p. and for this to happen, somebody needs to get these items somewhere in the next 15 minutes. Dave’s got the time but he doesn’t have a company car, although he does have his own car in the car park and can accommodate for the parcels. Sorted! So off Dave goes to the depot.
Keeping the business going is essential, but do enough companies consider the implications of an employee using their own vehicle for work? Not for commuting, but for carrying out a work activity, whether it’s nipping to the depot or going to a meeting or visiting a supplier. The list is endless, but the common factor is that there’s a requirement to do it for work purposes.
In Dave’s scenario of going to the depot, this was the perfect example of a company using its grey fleet – an employee using their own car to fulfil a work activity. And whilst Dave’s employer may have plenty of risk management and training measures in place for drivers of its company fleet, have they got any in place for Dave and his car?
Has Dave’s employer checked his licence? And no, photocopying it and filing it is not checking it – only the DVLA can check it properly. (Don’t worry; it’s easy and cheap to do so). Have they got his insurance, service and MOT details? Is his car relatively new and roadworthy or a 15 year old liability? And is Dave himself okay? He moans about reading with difficulty from his laptop screen so can he read road signs or spot a cyclist just ahead?
What is clear is the requirement for grey fleet drivers to be part of a company’s driver risk management programme in the same way its fleet drivers are. There's no grey area here and simply no room for complacency.
If Dave crashed on the way back from the depot, injuring someone, causing vehicle damage and his employer had not done anything previously to mitigate the risk of this happening, then the consequences for those at the company deemed responsible can be very severe. Perhaps so severe that a smaller firm would be forced to close.
It’s not scaremongering. It’s essential for road safety. So, do you think enough employers consider their grey fleet and do all they need to ensure compliance and safety of road users’ remains paramount?