A clearly written fleet policy is the foundation of any well-managed fleet. Without it, employers have no official point of reference when it comes to learning about fleet procedures, structures, and rules and regulations.
The fleet policy should therefore include detailed guidance for your drivers on how to properly operate their vehicles, and should clearly state the ramifications of non-compliant conduct. In this respect, a well-defined fleet policy can help limit your company liability by [LINK] keeping your drivers and passengers safe [LINK], and can boost fleet productivity and minimise costs by ensuring compliance. In this guide, we run through some of the main points you should address when putting together your fleet policy*.
Your fleet policy should define who is eligible for a company vehicle and explain the criteria for that eligibility. For instance, you need to ask yourself whether there is a certain threshold after which a company vehicle becomes mandatory for a driver (e.g. a driver who drives over 10,000 business miles a year). You should also state the conditions that all drivers need to fulfil to be eligible for a vehicle, covering all the basics such as having a full and valid licence, being physically fit for purpose, and accepting responsibility for their vehicle and behaviour.
It’s likely your car choice list will be informed by financial, safety and environmental considerations, but it should also take into account the requirements and preferences of your drivers. For this reason, your car choice policy needs to be clear and acceptable to your drivers, and should include detailed information such as permitted vehicle types, permitted vehicle brands (to make vehicle support easier), and whether or not drivers are allowed to pass up on a company vehicle in exchange for a cash payment and use of their own vehicle instead. Opting for low CO2 emissions vehicles is not just better for the environment and your overall fuel costs, it also makes your drivers eligible for lower-band benefit-in-kind taxation. You should therefore consider questions like whether to include CO2 limits for your fleet, and establish how often your vehicle choice list ought to be reviewed in light of constantly improving emissions technology.
As an employer, your duty of care extends both to ensuring the safety of your employees and the vehicles they drive. You have a responsibility to make sure your drivers are fit for purpose and that they aren’t spending unreasonable amount of time on the road. Likewise, you have a responsibility to make sure all operational vehicles are suitable and subject to proper checks and maintenance. It’s essential, therefore, to keep on record all audits so that you can prove you’ve satisfied all your legal responsibilities in the event of prosecution. So, when writing your fleet policy with your legal responsibilities in mind, remember to ask such questions as: Are there adequate checks in place to ensure drivers are legally and physically fit for purpose? Are drivers made aware they should rest when they’re tired or when they’ve been behind the wheel for a long time? Have drivers been made aware of the law regarding mobile phone use on the road? Is there an easily traceable audit trail in place to prove your fulfilling duty of care?
It’s important that your fleet policy clearly outlines your drivers’ responsibilities, including their duty to regularly check their vehicles and use them safely. The policy should also clearly state what your driver should do in the [LINK] event of an accident [LINK]. Make sure you consider questions like: Are drivers made aware of post-accident procedures? Have drivers been trained to handle regular basic checks of their vehicles? What are the consequences for the driver if they are caught breaking the law while driving a company vehicle? *We recommend you seek professional advice before finalising your fleet policy