Written by: Griffiths & Armour on: 27 Oct 2022
How the Cost of Living is impacting Grey Fleets
The UK is being hit hard by rising costs. Foodstuffs, energy, transport, housing, materials and fuels are all increasing rapidly in price, and the current cost of living crisis is greatly affecting households and businesses alike. With inflation at a 40-year high, many are having to make some arduous financial decisions.
Some family budgets are being put under extreme pressure, and individuals who are worried about the rising costs and who are feeling the strain, are looking at ways of saving money, cutting back, or indeed cutting corners. Those who are, are: spending less on non-essential items; using less fuel in their homes; cutting out non-essential vehicle journeys; and spending less on food shopping. For some, the stark reality is that they have to make a choice between food, heating and/or petrol.
The current financial climate is also fuelling an increase in insurance fraud. People are making up, falsifying or exaggerating claims; be they personal, household, business or motor. Individuals are also cancelling or not renewing insurances as they either see this as a way to save money, or they simply cannot afford it. Others are choosing not to maintain their vehicles, many of which form part of a grey fleet.
A ‘grey fleet’ vehicle is generally regarded as one that is owned and used by an employee for undertaking a work-related journey. This could include employees who use their own privately-owned vehicle for occasional work journeys, as well as vehicles financed using options such as ‘cash for car’ or ‘car allowance’ schemes.
The rising living costs are threatening the safety of grey fleet vehicles as some drivers are choosing to, or have no choice but to, cut back on vehicle maintenance. Some will question whether they can afford their vehicle at all, whilst others will put off replacing tyres and will delay servicing. Routine maintenance and replacing worn tyres are basics when it comes to making sure your vehicle is fit to use on a day-to-day basis. Such exploits potentially puts the drivers, their passengers, other road users and pedestrians at risk.
A recent report stated that poorly maintained vehicles played a contributory factor in more than 1,700 road casualties last year. That was an increase on the previous year, and the figure is anticipated to rise further. Defective brakes were reported to be the most common defect, with substandard tyres, faulty steering and suspensions also being an issue. Collectively they caused numerous lives to be lost, plus hundreds of casualties.
Employers have the same duty of care to their grey fleet drivers as they do to traditional company owned or company leased vehicles. As such, employers should:
- Ensure that the employee-owned vehicles comply with Road Traffic legislation.
- Undertake periodic checks to ensure that the vehicle has suitable business use insurance cover, a valid MOT and Road Fund Licence. Organisations should take copies of original documentation for their records.
- The vehicle should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. Ideally, this should be evidenced by the production of the vehicle service documentation.
If you have any questions about the contents of this article, please click below to submit your enquiry to Risk Management Director, Cath Swindells. Further information on grey fleet management is available via RMworks, the online risk management portal available to all clients of G&A.
If you would like further guidance on other considerations as a result of the Cost of Living crisis, please click here to find out more about the impact of inflation on insurance requirements.