Right now, millions of motorists can call themselves grey fleet drivers. Grey fleets — the overarching term to describe both the driver and their vehicle — are essential to many companies, used for transportation and business travel to help the workings of the business tick over smoothly.
However, there are several rules and regulations around grey fleet cars, vans and other motors that go ignored, which has the potential to cause problems for businesses and employees alike.
Grey fleets in the UK today
Millions of grey fleet vehicles are on UK roads and these aren’t necessarily cheap for businesses. Last year, a report (Getting to grips with Grey Fleet) commissioned by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVARL) found that businesses in the UK pay around £5.5 billion per year on grey fleets.
The popularity of grey fleets isn’t good news for everyone. According to the Energy Saving Trust, grey fleet motorists drive around 12 billion miles annually and cause a hefty 3.5 million tonnes of CO2. To help with this issue, the BVRLA set out to halve grey fleet mileage and costs by the year 2020 with the assistance of employers and policymakers.
How do you class a grey fleet motorist?
In a nutshell, grey fleet vehicles are motors that don’t belong to a company, but are used by its employees for work purposes (e.g. business travel). If a company has grey fleet drivers on its payroll, they are entirely responsible them, which also includes fuel and other motoring costs.
To identify a grey fleet driver, they will either:
- Use their own vehicle for work.
- Drive a car/van bought through an employee ownership scheme.
- Operate a privately-rented motor for work purposes.
Grey fleet rules and regulations
Grey fleets are used by lots of small, medium and large companies as an alternative to other work-related travel options, such as long-term van hire or company cars. Though generally, problems should only arise if grey fleets aren’t managed properly.
According to North gate, a vehicle rental company in north-east England, grey fleet employers need to be aware of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This act details what is required of employers to ensure the health and safety of all employees at work (to a reasonable extent). It also states that businesses and employees in unison have a responsibility whenever they are taking part in work-related driving to make sure that they never put others at risk. Even if an employer also has company cars, they have the same responsibility for grey fleet vehicles.
Dealing with grey fleets
As we’ve said, keeping up-to-date and in control of grey fleet vehicles is the difficult part. Oddly, many grey fleet employers pay little attention to the management of grey fleets, which is where online systems come into play.
Online grey fleet systems help companies manage grey fleets by recording details like: insurance, road tax, MOT, and driving licence expirations. Many can also alert relevant motorists and managers when any of these items need renewing.
Are there ways around having grey fleet vehicles?
It might be a shrewd move for some companies to move away from grey fleets to potentially reduce risk and boost efficiency.
Go with a rental company
One of the better options is to find a good vehicle leasing company. Decent vehicle rental firms lease cars, vans and other motors to businesses of multiple sizes for a range of duration, with many able to provide long-term van hire for more than 28 days. Companies going for this option can also track and monitor different aspects of vehicle usage, which will help to allocate employees and costs more efficiently.
Switching to company-owned vehicles
If a business really wants control and oversight, a fleet of company motors is the solution. However, this is not without its pitfalls. Of course, employees who travel many miles on company time would benefit from a company car. But introducing a host of new company vehicles for each employee might not be very efficient.
Implement a new company scheme
Starting a new company scheme, such as salary sacrifices, would give its employees the chance to give up a portion of their income and get back the non-cash benefit of a new lease vehicle.
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