Creating a solid vehicle policy

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We often hear about clients and other small businesses allowing employees to take vehicles home for personal use. Jane needs a van to move some boxes this weekend, Frank wants to grab something at the home improvement store and wants to borrow a pickup, etc. Some employers also allow their team to commute with the vehicles if they live closer to the job-site than the office it saves everyone time and fuel.

Regardless of whether you allow personal use of your vehicles after hours, it is important to craft a clear vehicle policy for your staff to follow. We have found this to reduce the number of issues that come up when you have a fleet.

Crafting your policy

This doesn't have to be complicated or arcane, start by outlining a few primary questions that anyone using a company vehicle needs to know about.

Topics

Restrictions
- What purpose vehicles can be used for
- The process for getting a vehicle to use
Safety
- Rules about driving safety, speed limits, tickets
- What to do in case of an accident
Maintenance
- How to check and report maintenance issues with the vehicle
- Who is responsible for the regular maintenance
Fuel
- How fuel should be purchased and when
- Record keeping of fuel receipts

Other thoughts

If you allow employees to use company vehicles longer term like for commuting or other use, know that it will be harder to have an effective vehicle policy. And if there are enough exemptions made to allow personal use of the vehicle, it can make it harder for other employees to know what the rules are and for managers to know how to enforce the rules.

Generally speaking, keeping your vehicle policy as simple as possible while letting your employees do their jobs unencumbered will allow everyone to function without the need for micro-managing.

Enforcement

Keeping everyone accountable is the glue that makes policies effectively at their job which is to reduce chaos. Make sure you have assigned people to monitor the vehicles and spell out what the consequences are for not following the rules. The last thing you want is one of your vehicles with a beautiful new wrap with your logo on it giving you the wrong kind of PR.

Communication

Finally, policies should be clearly accessible to employees, print them out and post them in the break room, have drivers sign off on the page before handing them the keys and add them to your employee handbook.