Thursday, February 29, 2024
HomeOperational AdviceVenson issues duty of care warning to fleet managers

Venson issues duty of care warning to fleet managers

A third of grey fleet drivers say their employer has never checked their driving licence, MOT or insurance policy

Over a third of employees who drive a privately owned or cash allowance car for business have never been asked by their employer to prove they have a valid MOT (35%) or insurance policy (32%). A further 31% have never had to show proof of a valid, clean driving licence to their employer. As research conducted by Venson Automotive Solutions suggests that many UK businesses lack understanding of duty of care responsibilities to grey-fleet drivers, fleet managers need to prioritise risk management for drivers who use their own vehicle for work, or risk serious legal, financial and reputational consequences.

Comments Simon Staton, Director of Client Management for Venson Automotive Solutions, “Whether an employee drives a company vehicle, has a cash alternative or uses a privately owned car, when they are travelling for business, their vehicle is considered a place of work, so it must be well-maintained, taxed and insured and hold a current MoT. The results of our survey reveal a worrying disconnect when it comes to meeting duty of care responsibilities for employees when they are driving their own car for work purposes.”

While it is the responsibility of the employee to ensure their vehicle complies with road traffic law, is in a safe and roadworthy condition and is fit for purpose, the employer should carry out annual checks. These should include driver licence checks and keeping verified records of insurance, MoT and road tax for all privately owned vehicles used for work purposes.

The Venson research also reveals that a staggering 40% of employees who drive a privately owned or cash allowance car for business have never been asked to show their vehicle’s service, maintenance and repair (SMR) record to their employer. This makes the fact that 40% of them have also never been asked to show proof of breakdown cover, even more worrying.

Driver risk must be correctly managed to ensure duty of care and legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Road Traffic Act 1988, and the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 are met. Failure to do so could mean that an organisation could be found guilty of corporate manslaughter if a death is caused by breaching its duty of care to an employee due to a substantial senior management failure.

Continues Simon Staton, “Important as it is for employers to meet their legal obligations when it comes to risk management of grey-fleet drivers and their vehicles, this is about more than ‘covering your back.’ Almost a third of all road deaths in the UK involve drivers or riders who are driving for worki, so by implementing a robust driver risk strategy to monitor and maintain their company grey fleet, fleet managers could well be saving lives, not just money or the risk of a prosecution.”

To help fleet managers and business owners manage risk Venson Automotive Solutions has outlined the main checks which should be carried out when managing  grey fleet drivers:

Six steps to managing grey fleet risk

  1. Ensure that all drivers hold a valid UK driving licence for the correct category of vehicle
  2. Check that employees are fit to drive e.g. eyesight/medical issues
  3. Make sure employees driving grey fleet vehicles have insurance for business travel, not just commuting
  4. Carry out checks and keep up to date records of insurance, MoT and road tax for all privately owned vehicles used for business
  5. Ensure there’s an audit trail with signed documentation from drivers
  6. Undertake a driver risk assessment programme to understand risk exposure and enable suitable solutions to improve driver safety, driver training, driving workshops, one-to-one sessions and e-learning can be implemented 

[i]https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/employers/work-own-vehicles.pdf

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