What Is a Vehicle Use Policy?
A Vehicle Use Policy (VUP) sets out how employees can access and use company vehicles. Although your organisation is not legally required to have VUP in place, having one helps manage any issues that arise regarding vehicle use. The alternative, of using informal practices to govern how company cars are used, can result in ongoing, seemingly minor issues, growing over time into serious problems.
The advantages of having a Vehicle Use Policy
A VUP will help to formalise your organisation’s expectations around company vehicle use and eliminate any confusion. For example, if an employee is not keeping a company vehicle in good condition or using it inappropriately it’s going to be much easier to address the issue if there’s an agreed policy in place.
This can also be a valuable aid in protecting your organisation’s image with the public; setting standards that cover driving the vehicle safely and keeping it clean. By putting your organisation’s expectations in writing they are more likely to be adhered to.
The policy can also support your health and safety goals by mandating simple daily checks such as working lights, windscreen washer levels, and tyre pressures. Or by reinforcing prohibitions on drinking and drug use.
Developing a Vehicle Use Policy for your organisation
Each policy should reflect the operational requirements of the organisation and possibly any legacy use cases (do your employees already expect that private use is included?). This is why successful policies are generally developed in conjunction with employees. This doesn’t mean that employees set the agenda, but by enrolling them in the process and explaining why certain things are important you are establishing an expectation that they will agree to be bound by the policy.
While your VUP will be unique to your organisation, there are standard inclusions that are found in most policies. These include:
- how the organisation will manage its vehicle fleet
- the authorisations that are necessary in order to access vehicles
- licensing requirements to drive vehicles
- any consequences for misusing a company vehicle
- any restrictions on employees using company vehicles for personal use
- if anyone else (such an employee’s spouse) can drive a company vehicle
- expectations for care and maintenance
- how employees log the business use of a company vehicle
- any restrictions on parking the vehicle. An employer may require that a vehicle kept at home overnight is always parked in a secure place
- prohibitions on alcohol and recreational drug use
- regulations for mobile phone use
- who is responsible for the insurance excess in the event of an accident
- a fuel use policy if employees are using vehicles for private use
- consideration of any Fringe Benefit Tax implications
- reimbursement for charging EVs at home
The role of a Vehicle Use Policy in supporting your health and safety goals
Company vehicles are considered a place of work under health and safety law so your VUP can be an important aid in meeting your organisation’s obligations. Use the VUP to set down rules around driving, including ensuring that employees are capable and safe to drive (not fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol).
Making sure that your policy stipulates holding an appropriate license will also reinforce your duty-of-care credentials. As will including any specialist vehicles, together with the specific training that’s required to operate them safely.
Maintaining the vehicle log
If your organisation operates an online pool booking system vehicle logs and odometer readings will be automatically compiled. If you do not have an automated system in place and rely on paper log books you should stipulate maintaining up-to-date entries as a mandatory part of your VUP. This will be valuable in reviewing each vehicle’s use and ensuring that Fringe Benefit Tax reporting is accurate.
Download Vehicle Usage Policy Template
Talk to your Senior Leadership team about the elements that should be included in a VUP and then share that draft with team leaders to find out if there is anything you have missed. After that, it’s time to talk through the reasons why you are bringing in a VUP with all affected employees.
Once you have gone through this process it’s important that you use the policy. This is an important management and safety tool and it should be treated accordingly. Therefore, signing a copy of the VUP should be a necessary action by all employees who have access to company vehicles.
With your VUP in place you may wish to elevate the visibility you have over your fleet so you can be sure that the VUP’s expectations are being followed. Smartrak has a range of solutions to help you do this, from driver identification solutions that take the ambiguity out of addressing traffic infringements, to vehicle tracking and booking solutions that will detail how a vehicle is being used, including after hours.
The reporting and insights provided by these solutions will enhance your VUP strategy and build on that effort by developing into a broader information offering. Helping you to build a safety culture within your organisation and improve fleet utilisation.