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Effectively managing and addressing the unique characteristics of Grey Fleet play a crucial role not only in minimising risk but also optimising fleet performance and promoting safety and responsibility in organisations.

Lee Sauerwald, the Executive Director of Corporate Services at Uniting Communities, recently talked about the often overlooked but significant topic of Grey Fleet.

In his presentation, he highlighted the challenges and risks associated with the use of employees’ private vehicles for work purposes. He also shared insights into the legal responsibilities, safety compliance, and the importance of integrating Grey Fleet management into an organisation’s policies and procedures.

Understanding Grey Fleet

Grey Fleet refers to the personal vehicles that employees use for work-related activities. These vehicles sit in a grey zone, so they generally tend to be out of sight and out of mind. This inherent invisibility often means they are overlooked making it a potential risk that demands attention.

As Sauerwald explained, employers have legal obligations to ensure a safe work environment, and this extend to the use of vehicles for business travel.

According to Australian legislation, employers must take all reasonable steps to meet their duty of care obligations, which include ensuring that employees’ vehicles are fit for purpose, registered, roadworthy, and that drivers hold valid licences.

Additionally, employees must inform their motor vehicle insurance providers about the use of their personal vehicles for work purposes to avoid claim denials.

Safety and Environmental Considerations

Road crashes remain the leading cause of work-related fatalities, injuries, and absences. Grey Fleet vehicles often differ from company-owned vehicles in terms of age, with personal vehicles tending to be older.

Sauerwald emphasises the importance of vehicle safety features, using the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) as a reference for identifying safer vehicles. While incorporating newer safety technologies is easier in company fleets, efforts should be made to ensure the safety of Grey Fleet vehicles.

Environmental sustainability is another key aspect to consider. Organisations can choose to purchase vehicles with low carbon emissions, such as hybrids, electric vehicles, or hydrogen-powered cars.

Policy, Procedures, and Influencing Driver Behaviour

To effectively manage Grey Fleet, Sauerwald highlights the need for comprehensive policies and procedures that encompass all aspects of fleet management. These policies should be communicated clearly to employees and drivers, ensuring their understanding and compliance. A policy declaration, where drivers acknowledge their responsibilities, can help enforce the policy effectively.

In addition to policies and procedures, organisations must continuously focus on influencing driver behaviour. Driver distraction, particularly due to mobile phone usage, remains a significant concern.

Employers can provide training courses, online safety education, and utilise behaviour change programmes to promote safe driving practices among employees.


Acknowledging the existence of Grey Fleet and taking proactive steps to manage it effectively is crucial for any organisation.

This begins with measuring the number of grey fleet vehicles, understanding their conditions, and how they are operated. Engaging employees, enforcing policies, and investing in ongoing driver training are also important. These measures can help in ensuring safety, compliance, and environmental sustainability.

Managing Grey Fleet requires commitment, but the long-term benefits outweigh the challenges. By prioritising the safety and well-being of employees, organisations can mitigate legal risks, reduce costs, enhance their reputation, and create a culture of safety and sustainability within their fleets.

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