Managing the risk of ‘grey fleet’

With the growing trend for online shopping, next-day delivery and the retail/hospitality experience showing no signs of slowing down, businesses frequently need to recruit extra staff to meet increased demand (particularly in the run up to Christmas). A major national newspaper has reported that approximately 250,000 temporary positions will be on offer over the festive period and not just in restaurants, bars and shops, but also in warehouses and delivery.

Yodel, the courier giant recently announced they need an extra 1,500 temporary staff nationwide, including HGV class 1 drivers, warehouse operatives, van drivers and couriers to fulfil client demand. With an increased number of vans, HGVs and delivery vehicles on the road, inevitably comes a greater risk of accidents. Look back 2 years to December 2017 and there were 462 fatal or serious accidents involving goods vehicles.

What is Grey Fleet?

During these busy periods online retail companies will often use ‘grey fleet’ drivers to deliver to customers. Grey fleet is simply the term used to describe any vehicle that does not belong to the company, but is used for business travel.

According to one BBC investigation, on a typical day a delivery driver for a leading company will make 150-200 deliveries. Although most companies will advise that drivers take regular comfort breaks, the reality is that this frenetic pace of work allows very little time for breaks, often resulting in extreme tiredness.

Sadly, tiredness is a major contributing factor to road accidents but isn’t the only risk of having a greater number of ‘grey fleet’ vehicles on the road:

Grey Fleet: The risks

Because grey fleet vehicles do not belong to the company, fleet managers face a complicated set of issues when it comes to managing the safety of their fleet. For one thing, employees using their own car may be outside of the established insurance and servicing policies, meaning their vehicles are not covered for company travel. Another issue is attempting to keep track of the status of grey fleet vehicles to ensure they meet legal road requirements, including:

  • Driving licence validity
  • Insurance details including business use
  • MOT certification
  • Road Tax validity

In addition to this, businesses also need to consider the suitability of the vehicle for work purposes. This could include the age and condition, or whether the vehicle is equipped with ABS, ESP, air conditioning and whether or not it is suitable for the journey requirements of the company.

To help avoid accidents on the road, RoSPA recommends that all delivery drivers are trained or retrained in handling risk on the road. RoSPA offers a bespoke Grey Fleet management training course which allows companies to manage their grey fleet.

The benefit of undertaking such training is a quick and simple self-certification process, which is accessible for all drivers and sends alerts automatically to individuals and managers for MOT’s, insurance, road tax etc.

For more information on our Grey Fleet Management course visit our website, email or call us on +44 (0)121 248 2233.

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