These notes provide a basic skeleton from which any company can develop its own company car use policy. Obviously, not all points will be relevant to all corporate situations – and it is essential that senior management design the policy to meet the specific needs and operational circumstances of the business, rather than “optimising vehicle costs”.
The following conditions apply to use of company vehicles:
- Drivers must be properly licensed to drive the vehicle provided. Driving licences will be checked via an appropriate DVLA-approved system for entitlements, continuing validity and endorsements. Any driving convictions resulting in points on the licence must be reported (within 14 days) to the fleet manager.
- Any company vehicle must fully comply with the safety features described as essential by the company. The list of these features will be monitored by the driving safety steering group and updated periodically.
- Cars issued to employees remain company assets and must be returned to the company on demand. Such cars may be used for private purposes, ie social and domestic, but under no circumstances must anyone drive company vehicles for the business use of any other company.
- Driving must at all times be in compliance with UK law. This applies to observing speed limits, parking, vehicle condition (particularly tyres and brakes) and consideration for other road users.
- Driving while under the influence of drink or drugs will be considered as a serious disciplinary matter (including the possibility of dismissal)
- Drivers will not smoke in company vehicles.
- Drivers must complete a monthly record of private and business mileage and return it with their expense
Note: Mileage between home and the normal place of work is private mileage. Private use of a company car will normally incur a tax charge on the driver. Most levels of private use of vans are not taxable but “non-incidental” private use may be chargeable to tax.
Where it is deemed absolutely necessary for the company vehicle user to have a mobile telephone, the company will arrange the fitting of a hands-free set if the vehicle is not already BlueTooth-enabled as standard. It is company policy that staff driving for work must not make or receive calls, even hands-free, while driving.
In-vehicle information technology, eg “sat-nav” and entertainment systems, must not be fitted without the authority of the company. Safety camera and speed-gun detector systems are not permitted. Any use of approved technology must be carried out in a safe manner.
Employees must not use any smartphone (or similar devices) apps while driving as these may easily lead to distraction and loss of attention. Some apps may be useful (fuel monitoring, journey logging) but the device should not be visibly active within the driver’s line of sight while the vehicle is in motion.
The driver must plan any journey sufficiently to ensure safe arrival. This means that enough time must be allowed for the journey, allowing for delays and rest-breaks on long journeys. The driver must ensure that he or she is not tired before setting off on long journeys. There is a joint responsibility between the company and the driver for ensuring safety on the road.
Drivers should check weather forecasts and road traffic conditions before setting out on journeys. (There are many sources of journey planning, weather and traffic conditions available on the web. These should be used as appropriate.)
To make long journeys safer, drivers’ should not drive for more than two hours without a break.
As well as resting and refreshments, these breaks can be used to check messages, voice-mail and any missed calls.
The use of overnight stays for long journeys will be permitted with management approval, (subject to normal cost control arrangements within the Travel policy).
Vehicle Under-bonnet and Safety Checks
Drivers should check tyre pressures and tread depths, oil and coolant and screen wash levels on a regular basis. In addition, these checks should be carried out prior to a long journey. Before winter arrives, anti-freeze must be checked and topped up if necessary.
Cleaning the Car
Drivers must keep the car clean, both inside and outside. Reasonable costs for cleaning materials (but not for valeting) can be claimed on expenses.
Servicing and Documentation (In-house Management)
- Manufacturer’s recommended servicing intervals should be adhered to and arranged by the driver at the recommended service point agreed by the company. Franchised dealers are advised for the whole period the vehicle is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty
- If the vehicle is equipped with “predictive service monitoring” the time/ mileage to next service must be checked regularly. Appropriate action to book a service is the driver’s responsibility when the instrumentation advises.
- In all circumstances and at all times between services, the driver must be aware of the general mechanical condition of the vehicle and seek appropriate advise if anything appears wrong.
- Tyres must be changed when the tread reaches a depth of 3.0mm. Contact the (fleet department) for details of nearest convenient tyre replacement facility.
- Warranty cover must be used for repairs whenever possible.
- If mechanical breakdown occurs due to the driver’s failure to observe recommended service intervals or checks, the company is liable for the repair cost incurred. The company reserves the right to charge some or all of the costs to the driver where there is evidence of abuse or neglect.
- The fleet manager will send MOT reminders to company car users. Drivers must arrange to have the test completed before expiry of the existing cover. The MOT certificate should be sent to the fleet manager.
- There is now no need to display a tax disc on the vehicle, as all details are accessible by police/ traffic wardens direct from the DVLA.If required, specific details about the vehicle registration can be obtained from the fleet manager.
Insurance cover for company cars is fully comprehensive/third party. There is no cover for company property or personal effects that are not part of the vehicle, eg laptop computers.
When travelling within the European Union (EU), it is no longer necessary to obtain a green card (insurance) for the car. If travelling outside the EU, it is necessary to contact the company insurers via the fleet manager. It is recommended that evidence of insurance is carried at all times when travelling outside of the UK. It is unclear if these arrangements will change following the UK’s departure from the EU.
- Employees may be permitted to take a company car abroad, subject to basic conditions. The fleet manager must be given prior notification.
- The driver must take out AA five-star cover (or equivalent). The cost is recoverable for business trips, but not for social journeys.
- If the vehicle is company-owned, the fleet manager will arrange certified copies of the V5C registration document and provide a letter of authority. If the vehicle is leased or hired, a VE103B is required.
- The VE103B is the legally accepted evidence that the hirer has the permission of the vehicle owner to take the vehicle abroad. It also replaces the need to carry the vehicle registration document (V5C) with the vehicle, which would otherwise be required abroad.
- Photocopies of the relevant documents and letters of authority are not legally recognised alternatives. Failure to carry the correct documentation could subject the driver to a fine and/or the vehicle being impounded.
At Cambridge Safety we aim to help the business sector to keep within the bounds of current health, safety and environmental legislation and to improve the overall standards of safety.
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