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Duty of care management risks associated with running business cars is not fully understood by small businesses

Small business owners: open to prosecution

Fewer than 50% of small business car managers understand duty of care

With the new Corporate Manslaughter act due to become law next year, the risks associated with running company cars is not fully understood by small businesses.

The Corporate Manslaughter Act means small companies can be prosecuted for health and safety failures that result in death.

Yet under 50% of those managers responsible for small business fleets were fully aware of the risks of running company cars.

There was an even lower level of the full risks of allowing staff to run their own vehicles on company business.

The findings come from a report – Business Car Perceptions – written by Professor Peter Cooke.

“If someone was given a £10,000 tool that would help them perform their job function, then they would be given training,” said Professor Cooke. “So it should be with company cars.”

However, Professor Cooke said he believed businesses were now turning to daily rental companies for vehicles, rather than allowing employees to use their own cars.

“The daily rental car has the advantage that it offers a clear audit trail,” advised Professor Cooke. “If a professional rental company is used, vehicles should be in an appropriate condition, taxed and insured.”

Further information

  • The Business Car Perceptions report has been researched by Professor Peter Cooke in association with BearingPoint. Professor Cooke teaches at the University of Buckingham.