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Demo fleets ‘could be weak link’ in fleet duty of care

Demonstrator vehicles sent to fleets by manufacturers and others may prove to be a ‘weak link’ in fleet duty of care policies.

Network Automotive, who provide a fleet demonstrator booking and evaluation service for a number of vehicle manufacturers, says that many demonstrator vehicle maintenance procedures may not meet the required standards.

Managing director Colin Bruder said: "Some demonstrator fleets are very well managed from a safety point of view, with detailed checks and audits carried out between each vehicle booking. We are confident that the manufacturers and fleets with which we are involved are among these.

"However, while others undertake safety checks that have been deemed adequate in the past, these may not be as complete as the duty of care guidelines now specify. Much more depth may now be required."

Bruder said that those providing demonstrators to fleets may now need to ensure that evidence was provided with each booking to confirm that the vehicle had been properly maintained and met all required safety standards.

He explained: "The onus is now being placed on fleet managers to ensure that any vehicle provided for driving at work meets the required standards, and this applies to demo cars and vans as much as any other.

"The fleet manager needs to see documentary evidence that shows the vehicle to have been properly looked after, so that he or she knows it is suitable for work use and that their employee is as safe as possible.

"If this cannot be done, there is the prospect that a proper risk management audit trail will not exist and that demo vehicles will become the weak link in otherwise comprehensive fleet health and safety policies."

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