The term Grey Fleet describes employee drivers who use their own vehicles for business travel. As the name suggests, understanding responsibilities for these drivers can be a grey area; in particular, a misunderstanding of where the ownership of responsibility sits.
Vehicles for instance are ultimately owned and managed by the employee, however, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE – see Driving at Work) defines a vehicle used for business purposes as an extension of the workplace. Under this definition it would be reasonable to assume the safety of employees whilst driving, even in their own vehicle, is the responsibility of the employer and not the employee’s responsibilities.
However, managing a vehicle not owned by the company is more complicated.
Successful Grey Fleet management starts with knowing who is driving, and checking they are legal to do so.
Although a pre-employment driving license check may be mandated as a part of your employee onboarding process, regular driving license checks are needed to ensure duty of care obligations are been thoroughly met throughout the employee’s time with the business.
Not an easy task when there are tens, hundreds, or thousands of owner-drivers in your grey fleet.
Meeting duty of care obligations is also about checking your drivers are not just legal to drive, but also safe whilst doing so. Once again, this can be a challenge again due to a lack of control over vehicles not owned by the business.
Although the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic continues to be felt by us all, businesses continue to adapt and change as do many of us as employees. Have your employees been off the road for 12 months? Are their vehicles still insured? Do they have valid tax and MOT certificates? The DVLA gave drivers whose licenses expired between February and December 2020 an automatic extension to renew, which means many of those who delayed, will need to act now.
Now is the time to refresh your DriverCare policies and make sure all employees (not just Grey Fleet drivers) are aware.
Given that for so many of us, our personal or familial circumstances may have changed in the last 12 months, your approach to driver risking may need to be reviewed; do you hold valid driving licence information for your Grey Fleet drivers? Do they have all still have the correct driving entitlements? Are they a younger driver or do they have points on their licence?
Using this information to identify high-risk drivers can help to determine who needs more regular checking.
Grey fleet management can be a time-consuming task, but it is important that all employees are equally subject to the same policies and level of checking. It is good practice to enforce a policy of no mileage expense reimbursement prior to the satisfactory completion of driver license checks and vehicle checks.
When you are satisfied that your Grey Fleet drivers have passed all the initial checks, it is important that they also understand the company’s expectations for when they are on the road. Duty of Care is more than checking paperwork; it is making sure drivers working for your company are not putting themselves or others in danger.
Given that driver and vehicle checking is often managed by Human Resources, the biggest hurdle before risk assessing drivers is the GDPR. Requesting driving licence information must only be done with the employee’s driving license electronic consent, which further delays the process.
Perhaps pre-pandemic there was a policy to check physical documentation, but is this still practical?
Streamline Your Driver Management Processes today; integrated risk management, document storage, and automated licence, tax, and MOT checks will help you to maintain a safe fleet.
To find out more, visit our DriverCare overview.