Fleet Cars – Are You Aware of the Risks?
Does your company provide vehicles for employees to use as part of their employment? You may not realise it but the company could be liable for prosecution, in addition to the driver, if the vehicles are used in circumstances where motoring offences are committed.
In the eyes of the law, the company is using the vehicle when being driven by an employee. The company can also be deemed to have permitted offences to occur by requesting an employee to use a vehicle which has a defect. The consequences could be the driver attaining penalty points and potentially losing their licence. This may in turn impact your business. For a sole trader, they themselves may end up with penalty points on their licence. For a limited company, there would still be costly fines. If the company also holds an Operator’s Licence, such convictions would need to be reported to the Traffic Commissioner and could then impact on the Repute of the Operator.
How can you protect yourself and your employees?
Have an audited system to make sure that the policy of insurance is valid, covers relevant drivers and the particular use. You should regularly check a driver record by accessing the DVLA ‘Check your Licence’ https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence service. (You should be doing this already as part of your compliance regime!)
Drivers ought to receive training and be required to comply with a driver handbook. This may refer to an obligation to report accidents or incidents in the vehicle, changes to driving licences/eligibility to drive and a robust drink/drug driving policy. It is good practice to include a walk around check to avoid issues with mechanical or physical defects.
There are specific walk around checks for larger goods and passenger vehicles, but the government has also issued guidance for vans which can be applied to fleet cars and company cars. The small vehicle walk around check can be accessed here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/van-drivers-daily-walkaround-check/van-drivers-daily-walkaround-check
If your company or your driver faces police investigation or have received a Single Justice Procedure Notice or Court summons, call our team today. Offences committed in cars and vans can adversely affect your operator’s licence and should not be lightly brushed aside.