It’s common to see light vehicles being ‘put to work’ across our cities and towns. But operating vans, cars and other light vehicles can become a legal minefield for organisations – consider issues of liability when something goes wrong, responsibility for vehicle condition, and the blurring of lines when grey fleet is used for business purposes.
Muddying the waters further, regulations governing light vehicle use – and what is even considered a light vehicle in the eyes of the law – differ across state borders.
This project aims to investigate legal implications of the use of light vehicles where vehicles under 4.5 tonnes are
- owned or leased and used by a business
- owned or leased and used by workers to conduct business
- hired occasionally and used for business
Various descriptions and definitions are used to describe these light vehicles including light commercial vehicle, light rigid truck, passenger vehicle. Australian light vehicle stock is expected to increase to 25.2 million in 2034, with the number of light rigid trucks is growing faster than other vehicle types.
Light commercial vehicles in Australia are on average older (10.5 years in 2017) than the average for vehicles overall (10.1 years) and for passenger vehicles (9.8 years), with all of these significantly older than those categories in similar countries.
Light vehicles are ‘involved in at least 90% of all crashes reported to police’. Nearly two thirds of worker fatalities involved vehicles.
This project has identified the following legal issues in relation to light vehicles, which are discussed in more detail below:
- Lack of consistent definition of light vehicle
- Road trauma and ageing light vehicle fleet
- Regulatory Frameworks
- Vehicle safety and maintenance
- Monitoring drivers and vehicles
- Light vehicles transporting goods and towing trailers
- Vehicles as part of employment and remuneration.
This project aims to identify relevant regulatory frameworks and any case law touching on these issues.
This report includes several hypothetical case studies are designed to illustrate some of the difficulties and issues that may arise.
They are intended to provide a prompt for employers and organisations to review their current practice and identify possible risks.
This report builds on previous research undertaken into grey fleet in Australia, which now forms the basis of the report, Grey Fleet: Legal Implications for Business, which can be accessed at www.nrspp.org.au/resources/grey-fleet-legal-implications/
Feedback received from industry about Grey Fleet: Legal Implications for Business identified grey fleet light vehicle usage as an issue of particular concern and interest.