Drivers who use their own vehicle for work travel are more likely to pose a road safety risk than company car drivers, according to a new study.
Produced by Lex Autolease, the study found that ‘grey fleet drivers’ are more likely to engage in illegal behaviours while driving, including using a hand-held mobile phone or reading a map.
The survey of more than 1000 drivers also found that grey fleet drivers are more likely to drive without the correct insurance or a valid MOT, or while knowing that the vehicle needs attention.
20% of those questioned admitted to having driven while using a hand-held mobile, while 5% confessed to having driven under the influence of recreational drugs.
Iain Temperton, Road Safety GB’s director of communications, has urged businesses to “to get a grip on the grey fleet”.
Paul Coley, from Lex Autolease, said: “Aside from the clear road safety risk that this type of behaviour poses, many UK bosses are unaware that they are ultimately liable for these drivers when they’re out on the road for work purposes.”
The study also interviewed nearly 300 company decision-makers with responsibility for managing business vehicles.
33% of those surveyed believe there is no significant risk to the organisation from an employee using their own vehicle for work. 40% were not fully aware of the employer Duty of Care regulations within the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and how they impact the grey fleet.
Under current health and safety laws, employers owe the same duty of care to employees driving their own private vehicles for work as they do to employees who drive an organisation’s owned, leased or hired vehicles.
Paul Coley added: “According to figures from the DfT, almost 2,000 people are killed on our roads every year. Of these, it is estimated that around 25% to 30% are due to accidents involving drivers on work journeys. Employers have a legal and a moral responsibility to ensure that their drivers and vehicles meet all legal requirements.
“There are straight-forward vehicle and driver checks and health and safety policies that can be put in place to better manage a grey fleet, which will ensure a company meets its Duty of Care requirements and help to reduce the road safety risk.”
Commenting on the study, Iain Temperton said: “Employees using their own vehicles for work purposes make-up a significant volume of the daily traffic on our roads.
“We are urging businesses to get a grip on the grey fleet and to put robust policies in place to manage the risks these drivers can represent.”