Fleet or Pool Vehicles Convenience or Nightmare

Jun 28, 2013

Many companies and partnerships have come away from providing company cars because of the tax situation for employees.

Instead they rely on employees using their own vehicles for business mileage with a pool car available to all when it is necessary.

With this comes two potential pitfalls, an employer sending an employee out on business in their own car potentially faces prosecution for permit no insurance or indeed for using the vehicle in respect of other offences even though the employer doesn’t own the car.

The same applies to pool cars, but they also carry a further issue, the dreaded speed camera (or any other incident where the vehicle doesn't stop). The registered keeper will receive a notice from the police requiring them to identify the driver. The obligations on companies being more onerous in that there is an expectation that a record is kept. With company cars you knew who’s car it was and they would remember who they lent it to. The tendency with pool cars is to leave the keys on a hook for anyone to take.

The trouble starts when a notice comes in and surprisingly enough no one wants to admit to setting a camera off. Companies face a substantial fine but are not able to receive points, partnerships however face the worst possible outcome as each partner individually faces the prospect of 6 points on their own licence, if you are responsible for transport explain that to the managing partner!

Whilst we all hope staff will be honest you cannot count on it. There are steps that can be put in place to ensure you have a reasonable prospect of identifying the driver or, if someone has gone out of their way to defeat the system, to be able to defend an inability to identify the driver.

Both of the situations above can be avoided if policies are put in place at the outset, it is too late when the police letter arrives. Insisting that car users have business use on their own insurance and taking a copy of the insurance certificate and driving licence each year is simple but effective. Pool cars users should provide a copy of their licence at the outset and have an obligation to notify any convictions. Many company insurers place restrictions on the minimum age of drivers and a maximum number of penalty points (typically six).

The Motoring, Transport and Regulatory department are able to advise you on policy and staff handbook entries and potential defences where it is too late!

Pete Dodd

About the author

Pete Dodd

Pete joined Nockolds in 2004 as a Partner within the Family Team. Before joining the firm Pete graduated from Bristol University with a degree in ...

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