At Licence Bureau, to avoid confusion, we avoid using the industry term ‘grey fleet’, as we believe it is often poorly understood. Instead, we prefer to use the term ‘owner drivers’ to describe drivers who use their own vehicle to undertake work mileage, regardless of whether they claim expenses or not. The fact is they are using their vehicle as a tool for work.
Now that I have clarified what an owner driver is, I next need to determine who these owner drivers are. This initially looks simple as I can clearly identify all those who receive car allowance (but may not drive for work) and all those who claim expenses for mileage. The problem I face is how to identify those who drive for work but do not claim expenses.
It is imperative in any organisation to know which employees drive and which do not – confirmation of not driving is as important as confirmation of driving. It’s important for people to understand that if their role changes to include driving for work, they will need to go through a process of registering as a driver. Knowing this will make your ‘owner driver’ process more accurate and sustainable in the long term.
Managing owner drivers
Whether you use a platform like Survey Monkey or a bespoke service such as that offered by Licence Bureau to manage your driver records, I recommend that you request the information you need by email from all staff directly or via their supervisors. That way each person can complete their own record.
Best practice would allow you to ask further questions based on health, incidents, and vehicles, so you can build up a more comprehensive driver record, and also include your mobility policy and include information about updates or changes within your organisation.
Your driver records should address the following compliance issues:
It is imperative in any organisation to know which employees drive and which do not – confirmation of not driving is as important as confirmation of driving.
- Is the driver qualified to drive? (e.g. do they hold a full UK driving licence or non-UK licence?)
- Is the driver aware of your policies for driving at work? (e.g. breakdown response, road safety, distance, overnight stays, drink and drugs, and vehicle maintenance)
- Is the vehicle fit for purpose/roadworthy?
- Is the vehicle insured for business use?
- Is the vehicle taxed?
- Does the vehicle carry safety equipment to be used in the event of a breakdown or crash e.g. a warning triangle, fluorescent jacket or a first aid kit?
What does the vehicle say about your organisation/could it damage your reputation?
- Is the vehicle within your company policy age limit?
- Is the vehicle within your company policy CO2 limit?
- Is the vehicle covered for emergency breakdown?
- How do you deal with vehicle replacement?
Much of the above can be assessed during an internal survey/audit. The answers can be validated against existing records, stored and analysed. This should be a continuous process that caters for new starters and those who change job roles.
By achieving compliance on all aspects of your road risk exposure, you will gain a full, auditable picture of who drives what and when. It is likely that you will reduce business journeys and make financial savings related to time and efficiency. You’ll also have in place a structure that employees understand and see as beneficial.
Finally, you may also receive positive feedback from your employees, including thanks for pointing out that insurance did not cover driving for work, and for acknowledging that the risk should be tackled head-on.
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