Running an active fleet of vehicles is no small undertaking. From maintaining their usability to hiring the right drivers, there is a lot to think about and control on a day to day basis.
It is important not to overlook the legal implications of fleet management. Failing to give the topic its due attention can lead to serious consequences both for drivers and the businesses they work for.
In this article, we explore the legal considerations of fleet managements, focusing both on direct legal requirements as well as issues that may lead to penalisation if not properly considered.
In the UK, it will come as no surprise that correctly insuring your vehicles is a legal requirement.
When it comes to insuring your fleet, special consideration should be paid to all eventualities. For example, you may insure your fleet just for those who are in positions that primarily use the vehicles. However, you must ask yourself whether there is any possibility that another individual within the business may drive a vehicle, even if in a brief moment such as moving it from one place to another.
In the case that not all employees are insured to drive all vehicles, each individual’s coverage should be communicated to avoid potential issues.
Keeping your fleet roadworthy is a crucial part of correct fleet management. The UK government consider it so important in fact that they have published guidelines on monitoring and maintaining the condition of your vehicles.
As fleets are usually made up of heavy and potentially dangerous vehicles, as an employer you have a duty of care to your employees and the general public to ensure that your vehicles are safe on the road.
Doing this involves a combination of driver checks on every use and scheduling regular professional inspections and maintenance.
Speeding is, of course, illegal for all road users.
Although occasionally seen as an inconvenience, speed limits are there to protect road users and the public. Not only can failing to adhere to them be dangerous but being caught doing so can have serious implications for your business such as hefty fines and even losing drivers to bans.
It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that they are following the guidance on speed at any given time, however, businesses should support their efforts. You may do this by providing them with technology that clearly communicates the speed limit at any given time or even by restricting vehicles to ensure dangerous speeds are never met.
Operating Heavy Equipment
Operating heavy equipment and lifting heavy loads have legal considerations from a health and safety point of view. Although the correct monitoring and maintenance of your fleet will ensure roadworthiness, correctly briefing your employees on best practice will help ensure safety across the board.
Supplying your team with the appropriate tools will help you meet your duty of care. For example, if a heavy load needs to be collected, you may choose to rent a specialist vehicle such as an hook loader hire to safely undertake the task.
As time goes by we are beginning to be drip-fed information on what the UK may look like after Brexit takes full effect. However, there are also many areas which remain undecided. Practically, this means that fleet managers do not yet have a full picture of how Brexit may impact their day to day job.
Keeping up to date with the latest news regarding the UK’s departure from Europe is crucial to ensuring that you are complying to any new legal requirements. Specifically, this is likely to affect the travel in and out of Europe and the associated paperwork and licences required to do so.
As a busy fleet manager, diving into legality might be the last thing on your mind. However, understanding the various areas that need special consideration is crucial in ensuring that you do not run into legal complications further down the road.