More business miles are being driven by employees, and more journeys are happening in privately owned vehicles, according to a new survey.

The car leasing provider Alphabet GB has issued the survey, in which it reveals that 63% of fleet managers report a substantial increase in the number of staff driving privately-owned vehicles for business - the so-called ‘grey fleet’. But the survey also reveals concerns around the health and safety aspects of this trend.

However, with the growing trend towards car usage and favourable benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rates set to remain for lower-emission vehicles, drivers are seeking greater support from their employers to facilitate travel and business miles. In fact, two-thirds of small fleets have seen an upsurge in employees opting into company car schemes.

A further 67% of fleet decision-makers said demand for salary sacrifice car schemes had also risen across their business.

Worryingly, there also appears to be a lack of understanding when it comes to the duty of care requirements of fleet managers – with more than half (59%) stating that uncertainty around this topic is impacting the running of their fleet.

“All companies are required to manage health and safety in the workplace and make sure policies and safeguards are in place to minimise risk”, said Carol Burgess, corporate and SME manager at Alphabet GB. “When vehicles are used for business, they are considered places of work. Consequently, employers are responsible for ensuring they are fit for purpose and properly maintained, taxed, and MOT’d.”

“They also need to check that employees have business use insurance cover; hold a valid licence for the category of vehicle being driven; and receive appropriate training. A robust and proactive driver risk management strategy is key to helping fleet managers identify and mitigate potential risks.”

Any uncertainty around duty of care could result in businesses failing to take appropriate action to safeguard their drivers and members of the public, which can lead to significant legal, financial, and reputational consequences, say Alphabet.