BEING a small fleet doesn’t exempt SME companies from taking duty of care management seriously.
The duty of care obligation covers those drivers in cars owned or leased by the business, as well as those using their private car on business (often called ‘grey’ fleet).
Driver risk must be correctly managed to ensure duty of care and legal obligations under the:
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974,
- Road Traffic Act 1988, and the
- Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
Overlooking aspects of SME fleet duty of care or not keeping adequate records can have significant legal, financial, and reputational consequences.
Yet new research from leasing provider Alphabet shows that a third of fleet managers have little to no knowledge of corporate duty of care.
And less than half (45%) considered they had a good understanding of how duty of care applied to their fleet.
The changing working dynamics of the pandemic have also seen a difference in the way people are going about business.
The research found that while 43% of businesses had seen an uplift in the number of employees using private vehicles for business travel post-pandemic, 51% of UK fleet managers still didn’t consider themselves as having a good understanding of duty of care responsibilities for their ‘grey fleet’.
Over a third had no risk management policy in place that covered all employees, regardless of whether they were driving company or private vehicles.
Driver Risk Essentials Checklist For SME Duty Of Care
Complete Comprehensive Checks Regularly
- Driving licence: Ensure all drivers hold a valid UK driving licence for the right category of vehicle they are driving
- Employee audit: Check employees are fit to drive – consider things like eyesight, medical fitness, right to work, accident records, disqualifications or conditions on their licence
- Mileage: Understand how far your drivers are travelling each year and complete risk assessments
- Private vehicle insurance: Make sure drivers using private vehicles are aware of their responsibility to insure their vehicle for business travel, not just commuting.
Provide Driver Training
- Regularly assess drivers and provide training online and in person, as well as practical training where needed
- Review your driver risk policy and ensure all employees are aware of the policy and their own responsibilities to promote a safety-conscious culture
Regular Vehicle Servicing And Maintenance
- Ensure all vehicles used for business travel are roadworthy and fit for purpose to protect drivers, other road users and the environment
- Carry out frequent checks and keep detailed records of insurance, MOT, and road tax, for privately owned vehicles used for work purposes
Good Record Keeping And Retention
- Keep detailed records and signed documentation from drivers. An audit trail will help ensure nothing gets overlooked and evidence appropriate policies and procedures are in place
Leasing firm Octopus Electric Vehicles has agreed a deal with US EV manufacturer Fisker to be one of the first lease providers in the UK to offer a new all-electric Fisker Ocean SUV