Best Practices: Why Your Fleet Needs a Clearly Communicated Fleet Policy

Having a clear, concise, well communicated fleet policy is – without question – a best practice when it comes to fleet management. Fleet policies can help to clearly outline the purpose of company-provided vehicles; the employee’s responsibilities with regard to the operation and handling of the vehicle; and the consequences for non-compliance. The fleet team must monitor and enforce policy compliance, however, in order for it to be effective. And, without the support of senior leadership, no policy will create the desired effect, and compliance accountability will be seriously impacted.

Each company should consider what special or unique circumstances may affect the development of their fleet’s policy and tailor their approach accordingly; but, there are some best practices that all fleets should consider as they work to adopt and enforce a comprehensive fleet policy:

Policy Creation and Communication

  • The policy should clearly state who can and cannot drive the vehicle (e.g. only the employee, the employee and their spouse/significant other, etc.).
  • At a minimum, drivers should submit an acknowledgement of their receipt and understanding of the corporate fleet policy once a year.
  • The fleet team should use a standard format for communicating policy information to drivers (i.e. a driver-based website).
  • A comprehensive team should review and update the driver policy annually to reflect changes within the company. The team should include Human Resources, Risk Management, Fleet Management, Senior Management, and any other key stakeholders.
  • The policy should clearly indicate job responsibilities and operator qualifications for company vehicle issuance.

Personal Use

  • The policy should clearly delineate between work-related and personal use of vehicles.
  • Business and personal mileage should be tracked via a daily log to determine the percentage of personal mileage for reconciliation at year-end.
  • Information outlining the company’s allowance program or reimbursement rates for business use of a personal vehicle should also be provided.
  • If a driver fails to comply with reporting requirements, the result should be a default to 100 percent personal use for the unreported mileage.
  • Companies should charge drivers a flat monthly fee to offset the company’s expense for the driver’s personal use of the vehicle.

Drug and Alcohol Use

  • Company discretion should dictate any substance testing policies outside of parameters enforced by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Canadian Ministry of Transportation (MTO).
  • The policy should advise drivers to adhere to all prescriptive/medicinal warnings.
  • A DUI or DWI conviction should result in loss of company vehicle privileges and possible termination.
  • The policy should require drivers to inform Human Resources immediately upon a summons being issued.

Vehicle Contents

  • The policy should list the prohibited items for company vehicles, such as firearms.
  • The policy should place responsibility on employees for properly securing the contents of their company vehicle (e.g. laptop computers, samples and equipment).

Towing

  • The policy should prohibit recreational or non-work-related towing with a company vehicle.
  • Towing instructions should be provided to drivers for all work-related towing.

Fuel Usage

  • The policy should prohibit use of a fleet fuel card for personal vehicles.
  • The policy should identify the situations, if any, where premium fuel use is permitted
  • The policy should identify the items permitted for purchase with a fleet fuel card, if it is an unrestricted card.

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