Page 6 - Commercial Vehicle Engineer - November 2018
P. 6

Grey  eet management needs to cover vehicle and driver safety
V ehicles driven by owner-operators and
working in the gig economy need to be brought into line with
mainstream  eet standards.
These cars and vans and their drivers
are really just another element of grey  eet management and should be treated in exactly the same way.
We have all had a parcel or hot food delivered to our home or of ce, I daresay, looked at the vehicle being used and strongly suspected that it would not meet even the most basic  eet standards. And more often than not you discover that the driver started early and will be driving late into the evening.
Yet legally these are grey- eet vehicles to which normal grey- eet safety principles should apply, on everything from maintenance to driver competence, as well as non-legislative corporate principles such as environmental considerations and more.
The standards applied by companies operating in the gig economy appear to vary widely. Some businesses seem to take their responsibilities seriously and apply the kind of measures that would be seen in any other  eet operation, but others appear almost to have no managerial control at all,
judging by vehicle condition. My view is that, over time, in the same way that recent rulings have made it clear that major gig economy platforms are employers rather than technology companies, their  eet operations will become more professional.
The question is: how long will this process take? While it is going on, there are likely to be a lot of vehicles on the road that are potentially poorly maintained, badly driven, grossly polluting and perhaps even outright dangerous. This is clearly wrong.
Do we, as an industry, have a duty to do something about this? In answer to that tough question it could be argued that there needs to be some kind of mechanism for reporting gig economy vehicles and drivers apparently failing to meet the most basic standards.
One possibility is that the Health and Safety Executive’s existing anonymous whistleblower system could be used. But perhaps the  rst step should be to publicise the idea among gig economy workers
to make them fully aware that their employers need to be looking after their safety.
Peter Golding, Managing director, FleetCheck
Peter Golding
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