Employers unaware of risks of personal car use on business

Many senior managers have failed to register the potential risk of employees using their own cars to make business trips.

Over a third (35%) of HR and finance directors do not think that employees driving their own cars for work is a cause for concern, according to LeasePlan’s Financial directors and HR survey. Under current legislation, however, companies are deemed legally responsible for the condition and safety of all vehicles used for work-related journeys, regardless of whether they are company or privately-owned cars.

Among the 150 finance and HR directors questioned, however, 89% rate driver safety and corporate liability as a key issue.

HM Revenue & Customs has estimated that around three million people use privately-owned vehicles for business journeys.

David Brennan, managing director of LeasePlan, said: "A firm’s duty of care to its at-work drivers has been one of the hottest topics in business circles for several years. With corporate manslaughter laws on the horizon, firms are beginning to understand that employees have to be in safe, well-maintained and suitable vehicles.

"However, these findings suggest that many have still to fully understand the scope of that liability. Employees who opt out of company car schemes may still need to drive for work, so sometimes buy their own vehicles. The trouble is that employers then have far less control over the maintenance and condition of those cars and if an employee is in an accident, a business could still find itself facing litigation if the vehicle is deemed poorly maintained and unsuitable."