Business owners in a wide variety of industries provide company vehicles for their employee’s use while on the job. For business owners considering taking this step, it’s important to provide employees with a written company vehicle use policy prior to allowing use of designated company vehicles. This policy manual can, and should, be reviewed by a lawyer to ensure that it meets the standards of all relevant liability and driver responsibility laws. Below are a few tips to get fleet managers started.
Explain the Language
Include an introduction that explains any legal terms or conditions described within the policy. This ensures that anyone signing it is fully aware of what they have read.
Clearly Designate Responsibility
An effective policy will clearly describe what costs and concerns fall within the responsibility of the fleet managers, and what is expected of employees. Typically the company itself chooses vehicles, keeps records, and provides basic maintenance of the fleet. Drivers are often expected to provide fuel for the vehicles, which is typically reimbursed by the company. Things like code and parking violations are typically the responsibility of the drivers themselves. This should be explicitly stated in the policy.
Outline Acceptable Use
Be sure to include a section in the policy on who is considered an eligible driver, and what activities are considered acceptable. Any details about personal use policies, including those designed to accommodate both regular commuters and temporary use, should be included. If the company has garaging or storage requirements for eligible drivers, this information should also be conveyed in print. Prohibitions against unauthorized drivers, as well as illegal operating conditions such as intoxicated driving, reckless driving, and gross negligence are other important details that should not be overlooked. Some companies also choose to include restrictions on things like tobacco use in company vehicles, although others choose not to place restrictions on employees who want to smoke cigarettes while they drive.
Acknowledge Safety Concerns
The company’s accident evaluation procedures should be explained in detail. Many businesses also choose to include a written discussion of safe and defensive driving procedures, and tips on technique. Regularly issued safety equipment such as seat belts and airbags, and compromising factors such as the use of cell phones and potentially fatigued drivers should also be covered.