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Fleet chiefs struggle to obtain ‘grey’ fleet driver legal compliance

15 October 2009

The majority of fleet managers are facing resistance from ‘grey’ fleet drivers when they want to carry out important safety and document checks, according to a survey by industry fortnightly Fleet News.

Checking ‘grey’ fleet vehicles are roadworthy and have valid MoT certificates is essential to guard against potential prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter and Manslaughter Act or health and safety legislation and other laws impacting on at-work driving.

However, 71% of respondents to a Fleet News poll said that they were struggling to get their ‘grey’ fleet drivers to comply with their requests.

“A lot of the resistance is due to ‘grey’ fleet drivers not grasping how they can be legally affected by their responses or lack of them,” said Terry Fleury, fleetcom manager at Care Nursing.

Faced with such opposition, key to driver compliance was explaining the potential consequences of ignoring such requests, he said. But, the main reason behind fleet managers facing such resistance is the “the age old problem of ‘it’s not your car it’s mine’”, according to Ann Dukanovic, fleet manager at Kaba Door Systems.

“I merely state that we are contract hiring it from them for business use as opposed to from a lease company and as the fleet manager I have the right to ensure the vehicle is maintained, and run in a safe and legal manner,” said Ms Dukanovic. “It takes five minutes to sink in then they understand.”

The fact that fleet managers are facing opposition from their ‘grey’ fleet drivers comes in the wake of a Fleet News exclusive revealing more than 140,000 grey fleet drivers at 30 county councils were not having their vehicles inspected for safety.

However, this was due to the failings of public sector bosses for not instigating the legally required checks, rather than the resistance of ‘grey’ fleet drivers.

Nevertheless, the consequences of not managing employees who drive their own vehicles for work remain the same.

“Health and safety legislation says that employers must assess risks to their workforce and those affected by their activities and take steps to deal with those risks,” said a Department for Transport spokesman. “Driving at work needs to be treated in the same way as other work activities – ownership of a vehicle is irrelevant.”