Eight Considerations for your Company Vehicle Policy
It goes without saying that any company requiring staff to operate their vehicles as part of their employment role should have some clear guidelines in place.
But what kind of vehicle policy should your business have?
Matthias Kehle, Interleasing’s General Manager of Sales and Client Relations, says many company policies are very basic. “They’re often focused on, ‘If you’re a level-one manager you get that car; level-two, that car, and if you get an infringement you must pay for it, and that’s it. Policies should be more specific to protect the individual, the organisation and the asset.”
Here are eight factors to consider for your vehicle policy.
Affordability and Fit-For-Purpose
Firstly, what is your vehicle budget and does the budget align to the requirement of the vehicle/s? Does the budget provide for performing tasks specific or unique to your business needs?
For example, is there sufficient space for merchandise or point-of-sale material? Is it safe to drive for long periods of time and up to eight hours a day? Is it set up like “an office” with Bluetooth capability and can this be accessed without taking your hands off the steering wheel and your eyes off the
OHS and WHS Risks
Does the vehicle policy fall in line with your company’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Work Health and Safety (WHS) guidelines? For example, how do you monitor OHS when the company car is essentially your office? Does it clearly define rules around distracted driving, alcohol and drug use, and traffic laws including speeding?
Does the policy define your company’s overall target on emissions reduction, and any systems —such as fuel card use or odometer capture — to monitor fuel-consumption and vehicle performance? Have you cost-factored switching part or all of your fleet to hybrid or electric vehicles? Can a telematics system provide insight into employee driver behaviour, utilisation of the asset and possibly aid with the reduction of emissions?
Uniformity on a range of requirements should be detailed, which could include:
- That the car is locked at all times when it is left unattended
- Expectations around vehicle general internal and external cleanliness
- All fuel-card use is within company rules (and define business vs personal use)
- Expectations around daily maintenance including engine oil, coolant and washer fluid levels,
and tyre air pressure.
Fines and Accidents
When it comes to traffic infringements such as speeding fines or to parking fines, the policy should clearly define who is liable for payment (in most cases, it’s the driver).
A section clearly detailing the responsibilities of the driver (and company) in the event of an accident is imperative.
What is the level of insurance cover on each car? What isn’t covered (for example, property inside the vehicle owned by the driver that is removed as a result of a theft)? What liabilities stem from damages caused to the car, other vehicles, people or property as a result of operating the vehicle against the policy or illegally?
Many companies require drivers to keep logs of vehicle and fuel card use for part of the year to keep track of running expenses and for OHS, insurance and company tax obligations.
While creating a policy is one thing, ensuring its visibility is another matter entirely. Policies should be reviewed regularly to ensure they are in keeping with changes to legislation, and staff members are engaged with it. The policy should be prominent on a company’s intranet or website, and/or through online compliance training modules or workshops.
“It’s important to ask yourself, ‘How do I maintain the policy?’” Kehle says. “With many customers it’s quite evident that they create a policy with the best intent and then it doesn’t get reviewed or promoted, and it isn’t really visible or used by the workforce, in particular in an environment where changes are regular and safety of the individual is paramount.”