Fleet policy must address several key elements:
- Who: Which employee is assigned a company vehicle. Which hire candidates, and ongoing employees, are permitted to be assigned and operate a company provided vehicle.
- When: When is the employee permitted to drive the vehicle, i.e., personal use, business use, and for which expenses will the company pay.
- What: What vehicles will be assigned? What makes, models, and equipment are approved?
- Where: Are there any limits to where a company vehicle may be operated, both for business and personal purposes?
- Why: Why does a particular job function need a company provided vehicle? What prevents the company from requiring an employee to use his/her personal vehicle on company business?
- How: How is the vehicle acquired? Maintained? Repaired when necessary?
Beyond the above, and most importantly, there is fleet safety policy. Safety policy generally covers several key elements of safe driving:
- Seat belts: Company drivers are required to “buckle up” whenever driving, and to require any passengers to do so as well.
- Mobile phones: Drivers are never permitted to use mobile/cell phones while driving, whether or not the phone is hands free. No calls, no texting, no internet usage. The only exception might be the use of a navigation app, when the vehicle itself is not so equipped. And that is only when the route is searched and set up while the vehicle is parked.
- Defensive driving: Drivers are required to drive defensively, that is, to always assume other drivers will ignore traffic controls, and/or make errors that will create dangerous situations. For example, when drivers are approaching an intersection that is not controlled in their direction, but controlled in the cross road, make certain that another driver will stop at the intersection before proceeding.
- Accidents: All accidents are reviewed by a committee of stakeholders (HR, fleet, risk management, legal) to determine whether or not the driver is charged with responsibility (not necessarily fault, but chargeable per defensive driving techniques).
These are the basics. Another common, and important, element of fleet safety policy is a ‘reward/penalty’ process.
Drivers who drive safely and have no violations or chargeable accidents within a specified period of time (a year, five years, ten years, etc.) are rewarded with recognition, a prize, or some combination of both.
Alternatively, drivers whose MVR shows violations, and/or who have chargeable accidents are subject to sanctions which can range from a letter of warning all the way up to and including termination. Various violations are often assigned points; the lowest being simple equipment violations such as a burned out blinker or headlight, or a process violation such as an expired registration or inspection sticker.
More serious moving violations can range from failure to signal, to tailgating, up to speeding and DUI. The more points, and the more often a driver receives violations or is involved in chargeable accidents, the more severe the penalty. Penalties for serious violations can involve suspension of personal use privileges, revocation of company car use, even termination.