The evolvingmodel of grey fleets has resulted in a call for renewed focus on the safety ofcorporate vehicles and their drivers.

With asizeable move away from the company car model towards vehicles that don’t belongto businesses but are used for business travel, such as privately-ownedvehicles and hire cars, the safety of fleet drivers has been called intoquestion.

Martyn Nash,director of non-profit organisation, Driver First Assist, which providestraining for fleet drivers in the assistance at the scene of road trafficaccidents, has warned that the rise of grey fleets could see some employers“absolving themselves” of their legal health and safety responsibilities.

With morefleet drivers choosing to take cash allowances from their employers, leading toa rise in grey fleets and on-demand vehicle rentals, Nash believes somebusiness owners will inadvertently avoid their health and safety obligationsfor staff driving on business “irrespective of who owns the vehicle”.

“Employeemobility is fast becoming a buzzword in the corporate sector and that embracesuse of car clubs, vehicle rental and car usage via on-demand providers,” addedNash.

“We are alsoseeing a rise in car sharing and possibly a return of pool cars in somebusinesses.

“The morevehicle ownership moves away from the corporate umbrella there is a risk thatroad safety is being undermined and that includes delays in own vehicle driversreplacing worn safety items such as brakes and tyres due to cost.”

Back inApril, the ACFO fleet association launched a campaign to encourage morebusinesses to implement enhanced policies to cover grey fleet management. Thecampaign was based around figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which saidthat over 14 million privately-owned vehicles undertake work-related journeys,compared with the 940,000 company cars on UK’s roads.

SimonTurner, campaigns director of RoadSafe, the organisation which oversees the‘Driving for Better Business’ campaign, said: “Grey fleet will probably form avital part of most companies’ future mobility solutions when integrated withother travel and communication options.

“But it needs to be effectively managed if it isto be successful. Employers must ensure they have well thought-out policies andprocesses in place and stick to them.”