For many businesses, having employees who travel as part of their role is an inevitable part of doing business. Whilst some businesses choose to operate a fleet of their own vehicles, for others this isn’t an option for all employees or where business related travel isn’t the bread and butter of their operation. In these instances, employees will often use their own personal vehicles for business travel claiming back mileage costs, and are commonly referred to as ‘grey fleet’ drivers.
It is in this area that Enterprise rent-a-car recently commissioned research (Jan 2017) surveying 2,000 UK drivers, of whom 488 regularly used their own cars for business trips to look at how well these vehicles were maintained. Unfortunately, the results don’t show a particularly positive picture.
But why should this be of concern to businesses who have employees using their own cars for business travel? Despite individuals using their own vehicles it is ultimately down to the organisation to ensure that employees are travelling in safe and well maintained vehicles when embarking on business travel and to show the same duty of care to these employees as they do to employees driving a vehicle provided by the company. Therefore, if accidents occur because of poor vehicle maintenance, businesses may unwittingly find themselves liable for any associated costs.
The study showed that only a third of the ‘grey fleet’ drivers surveyed regularly check their car themselves and a similar number carry out these checks only occasionally, citing issues such as ‘not having the time’ or ‘not being bothered’ as reasons for this lack of attention to the state of their vehicle.
The research also found that very simple checks were being over looked, with just 43% stating they had ever checked their tyre pressure, less than half having checked their tyre tread and just 46% checking their oil levels.
Whilst as a business you may have little control over how your employees maintain their vehicles, if they are using their own cars for business travel and claiming back mileage costs, there may be steps you should be taking to remind them of the importance of vehicle maintenance. Many of these checks are simple and take very little time but could protect both employees and businesses.
If your business is thinking of moving towards introducing your own fleet of vehicles, Anthony Jones are specialists in fleet insurance solutions. Find out how we could help here.