DRIVER attitudes and driver behaviour are changing. With the rise of PCH as well as PCP and the part brokers are playing in servicing the needs of the SME sector, it is increasingly important for brokers to understand and accommodate these changes and be able to communicate the need for grey fleet risk management and to offer solutions, says Rob Whalley of apd.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, there are more than four million ‘grey fleet’ vehicles in the UK – three times more than the number of company-owned cars in the whole country. While they are owned by individuals, when these vehicles are on company business, they are the responsibility of the owner’s employer, who have a legal duty of care.
One recent development is the rising level of distracted driving. This is aggravated by many factors including mobile phone use, increasing use of in-car gadgets, drink and drugs, lack of sleep and tiredness. Heavier traffic and increased congestion place added demands on the driver and require higher and more sustained levels of concentration.
People are no longer as car-oriented as they used to be. Drivers assume that their car just works and don’t even open the bonnet to look inside.
Because grey fleet vehicles don’t belong to the company, managing them often involves additional financial, legal and environmental difficulties compared to managing a conventional fleet.
Driving is a very emotive issue and research shows that fleets (large and small) have become ever more mindful of this when introducing any initiatives to improve safety, but anything they do for an employee using an owned or leased vehicle must also be offered to employees in the grey fleet.
Risk assessments, auditing and maintenance procedures should become a core part of the broker offer to fleet managers. It is important to ensure that a proven risk management process is used to manage all work-related road risks, including the grey fleet.
Brokers ability to be able to communicate the importance of these issues to the fleet manager and tailor their product offering to help them manage their grey fleet legally and responsibly, or offer them a way to provide mobility for all their employees without an increasingly dangerous exposure to the grey fleet risks, will be key to maximising increased growth in their businesses.