We first became aware of the term ‘grey fleet’ around 2015 and it is still widely unknown but a high-risk factor in most organisations. The term defines vehicles being used by a business that it doesn’t own; vehicles owned and used by employees to conduct business and vehicles that are hired occasionally and used for business purposes.
What Is Grey Fleet?
Any vehicle used for work not directly provided by the organisation that employs the driver. In this guide, Grey Fleet includes personal vehicles, all forms of vehicles leases and client vehicles. Grey Fleet applies whether workers are reimbursed for expenses associated with work use or not, such as kilometres travelled.
Who Does Grey Fleet Apply To?
A Grey Fleet Driver is an employee of the organisation who is operating a personal vehicle for work purposes. Grey Fleet does not only apply to the driver directly working for the company, it applies to anyone who needs to drive a private vehicle for work purposes. This includes un-paid volunteers, contractors, or anyone billing their time to the company, or being reimbursed by the company.
Surveys show the sentiment around being concerned about grey fleets appears to be disconnected from the actual activities that are undertaken across all segments to address these concerns and organisations have a long way to go in achieving and maintaining an acceptable level of risk management and mitigation in this space.
Other key takeaways learnings from surveys on the subject are:
- Not-for-profits are the most concerned about grey fleets and display the greatest disparity in terms of best practice when it comes to grey fleet compliance. They outperformed the market in terms of driver licence and roadworthy checking, and yet vastly underperformed when it came to measuring grey fleet kilometres and enforcing vehicle age and safety-standard restrictions.
- Government respondents, particularly those with more than 500 staff, displayed the highest rate of compliance with grey fleet best practice with scores between 17% and 33%. This still leaves up to 80% of respondents performing outside of best practice.
- The data from corporates with one to 99 employees showed that, in respect of certain best-practice elements, this sub-segment outperformed both government and not-for-profits. However, and not too dissimilar to the broader trends displayed by the not-for-profit segment, the corporate respondents were not as consistent as the approach taken by their counterparts in the government sector.
Road safety management of standard car fleets is generally well regulated and well understood. But this is not the case for grey fleets – vehicles used for work that are not owned by the driver’s employer. As more industries increase their use of grey fleets, concern about managing the safety risk from using grey fleets has also increased.
Grey fleets are often a blind spot for organisations and workers, because it is not yet commonly understood who is legally responsible for their safety. As a result – and although WHS laws and other legislation apply to grey fleets – drivers and organisations employing them often do not fulfil their safety responsibilities.
The National Road Safety Partnership Program committee partners have identified grey fleets as a significant risk with unique challenges and brought together 25 partners to collaborate on a guide to managing grey fleet safety risk, as well as researching the legal implications.
In a panel discussion, three of the partners, together with legal and regulatory experts, shared their insights and experiences with grey fleets. They discuss what grey fleets mean to their organisations, and individually the concerns that they have and issues you should consider if your organisation uses grey fleets.
“Grey fleet for organisations is often out of sight and out of mind.” – Darren Wishart
For work health & safety purposes, ‘workplace’ includes a vehicle used by a worker for work purposes
Legal implications include:
- Work health and safety legislation
- Workers compensation
- Motor Vehicle accident claims and CTP schemes
- Licensing of Drivers
- Criminal and civil liability
- Collection of data, privacy and storage
Do you need a Grey Fleet policy?
To learn more and obtain additional resources visit: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/grey-fleets-significant-risk-unique-challenges
- NRSPPGrey Fleet resources: NRSPP Guide: Grey Fleet Safety Management
- NRSPP: Grey Fleet: Legal implications for businesses
- NRSPP: Grey Fleet: Pre-Start Checklists
- Austroads research report: Vehicles as Workplace, which includes the draft Work Health and Safety Guide: Managing Vehicle Use in Road Traffic
- National Road Safety Partnership Program
- Australian Road Research Board
- Safe fleets are better business
- Driving safety home
- Go home the way you turned up