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Corinne Harrison from Arval on the risks of the grey fleet
Harrison: explaining the risk of the ‘grey fleet’: private cars for business use

SMEs need to acknowledge responsibility for staff using their own vehicles on company business, writes Arval’s Corrine Harrison.

We recently published an industry first report called The Grey Fleet.

It looked at the issue of private vehicles used for business purposes.

Such vehicles are sometimes referred to as the ‘grey fleet’.

We know that many small businesses use private grey fleet cars for business purposes.

Or encourage staff to use private cars for business travel.

However, our report highlighted that small businesses were not effectively managing these non-company cars.

And potentially at risk as a result.

The report found that, of these grey fleet privately owned cars:

  • Only 20% of SMEs conducted MOT checks
  • 58% did not conduct insurance checks
  • 86% did not check regular maintenance records
  • Only 1 in 5 conducted risk assessment or driver training
  • Under 50% gave rental or pool cars to non-company car drivers
  • Under 50% insisted on accident reporting for non-company cars

This management gap in meeting duty of care obligations is potentially placing SMEs in the firing line for liability claims. This is all the more important as the Corporate Manslaughter Act, which reinforces the obligation on a company to comply with existing health and safety legislation, becomes legally binding on 06 April this year.

Small businesses often lack the resources to dedicate full time staff to vehicle management, or to invest in risk management measures.

In many cases SMEs don’t know where to turn for advice. And fear that working with a fleet management company or purchasing a risk management package will cost the earth. This is simply not the case.

Regardless of the fleet size, the cost of not tackling this issue is far greater than any initial investment an SME will have to make to better manage their grey fleet. SMEs need to acknowledge their duty of care obligations and take pro-active steps to mitigate their risks.

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