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THERE’S a red alert as ‘grey fleet’ drivers slip past risk assessment more stringently applied to company car drivers.

And that applies as much to business drivers who have taken a cash-for-car cash option instead of a company car from their employer.

Cash takers can potentially fall off the radar when it comes to safety, even though there are frequently high mileage and other increased risk groups among their number, said Arval’s Shaun Sadlier, head of consultancy at the leasing and fleet management specialist.

He said: “Anyone who is using a vehicle on business is their employer’s responsibility when it comes to duty of care, no matter whether they drive a company car or provide their own.

“However, we frequently see instances where fleets do little or nothing to monitor even the risk management basics when it comes to cash takers.

This could result in omissions as fundamental as having no regular licence checking or walkaround vehicle inspection processes in place.

Shaun said part of the issue was that there was often an assumption within fleets that cash-taker drivers were low mileage and therefore tended to be a low risk.

Understanding cash-for car

“In general, the average cash taker does cover fewer miles than core fleet counterparts but this does not mean that all of them do. It is not unusual to come across a 25,000-mile-a-year cash-taker driver or one who has up to 6-9 points on their licence.

“If these people were driving company cars, they would typically be given a higher degree of risk management attention but, because they are cash takers, there is the potential that they will not be subject to the same level of scrutiny and more importantly not provided with the same sort of support measures such as targeted training.”

The underlying problem was that cash takers tended to fall into the same area of neglect as other grey fleet drivers, Shaun added.

“We see many instances where grey fleet continues to be a problematic area. While there are many employers who take the risk management of these vehicles and drivers as seriously as their own company cars, we still come across too many where this is not the case.

“For example, as part of a recent review, a customer advised us that they did not have any grey fleet usage and that their car policy stated that no business mileage was to be driven out in a private car. However, examining their expense claim system identified that over three-quarters of a million miles had been paid for using private vehicles in just one year.

“Really, this is an area of weakness in overall fleet management that needs addressing. Just because a driver occasionally uses their car for business, they need to be part of your risk management strategy.”