What are grey fleets and how can they be managed?


Written by

Read time

By Jack Durrant - Associate Director, BA (Hons) ACII and Peter Milchard - Motor Fleet & Risk Executive, FAFP, FARRM

What is a grey fleet?

Grey fleets are known by lots of different names, but put simply, they refer to employees using their own vehicles for business purposes. This can happen in large volumes for businesses that have people dedicated to roles which require travel but prefer to not use company-owned vehicles.

If the vehicle is owned by the person, why should company decision-makers be concerned?

Grey fleet standards are just as important as any other fleet, whether owned by the business, hired or rented as if the vehicles were owned by the company. The company has a responsibility to ensure vehicles owned by employees are fit for purpose. There are companies like Continuum (Licence Bureau) that manage processes to ensure that grey fleets meet the standards. 

Managing a grey fleet

Grey fleets must be effectively managed by all businesses regardless of frequency and extent of use. There are several things to remember when managing a grey fleet:

  1. Vehicles must be fit for purpose; this would include things like maintenance and MOTs undertaken as and when required and tyres kept within the legal limit of use.
  2. Drivers must be fit to drive and, when inducting new drivers, they will undergo vetting procedures and license checks to ensure they are fit to drive and have a valid licence (these should be repeated at least annually).
  3. The drivers must evidence to your business that they have valid insurance for undertaking company business in their own vehicle.
  4. Your business has reporting systems for maintenance and licence checking in place.
  5. Your business has a robust policy to ensure the safety of other road users (which encompasses the above points for example).
  6. You have defensibility by being able to recall the procedures and checks have been undertaken.
  7. You continue to track and improve the process.

Fleets vs grey fleets

  • Fleet vehicles offer reassurance and reduce risk for company business by ensuring that vehicles are legally compliant, roadworthy, and insured. In contrast, grey fleet vehicles pose challenges in consistently identifying and documenting their use for company purposes, necessitating robust procedures.
  • A grey fleet offers flexibility without requiring all employees to have company vehicles or incurring ongoing asset costs. However, it does not absolve you of the responsibility to effectively manage your business exposures.

Grey fleets can give businesses and drivers more flexibility, but by no means is it an opportunity for businesses to step away from their responsibilities to care for their staff and other road users.

Employers have general duties under health and safety laws on driving. You or your organisation could be prosecuted for Gross Negligence Manslaughter or under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 if:

  • One of your workers is involved in a road traffic incident while driving for work and this results in the death of the worker or another person, and
  • There is evidence that the death was caused by either a grossly negligent act or omission; or by serious management failures amounting to a ‘gross breach of a relevant duty of care’

How can Howden help?

Our Risk Management experts can provide advice and guidance for all sizes of business and identify appropriate solutions and processes to manage your motor risks. Get in touch with the team at [email protected] or call us on 0330 008 1334.