New Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance covering gig economy and contractor drivers marks a “potential major expansion” for fleet responsibilities, says FleetCheck.

The fleet software specialist points out that a wide range of businesses could potentially be affected by the newly-revised Driving at Work document, which describes core legal standards that all fleets should be meeting.

Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “We have been arguing for some time that everyone from courier to fast food delivery drivers should be covered under normal fleet management responsibilities. The new guidance makes it clear that the HSE agrees.

“Businesses that have operated on the basis that they have no or limited liability to third parties of this kind have had their legal position made clear. They need to ensure that any fleet activity that is carried out on the behalf of their business meets usual standards.

“Just ensuring that a driver holds a valid licence and a vehicle is insured and has an MOT is almost certainly no longer sufficient. This marks a potential major expansion of fleet management responsibilities for businesses ranging from home delivery giants to your local take away.”

However, Peter said that there would be a question mark over how quickly these responsibilities would be met, given the track record of many businesses.

“These new responsibilities appear to be similar, or effectively the same, as those covering grey fleets, and that is an area where quite large numbers of employers fail to enforce the same standards as for their own company cars and vans.

“We don’t expect to see any sudden rush to meet the guidance, therefore. This is something that will probably take a number of years to percolate through the fleet sector.”