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An Employer’s Guide to Employees Using their Own Vehicles for Work

This opinion piece is 11 months old

Many employees use their personal vehicles for work-related purposes, such as traveling to off-site meetings, making deliveries, or visiting clients and service users. While this can be convenient for both the employer and the employee, it can also raise a number of legal and safety issues. 

The HSE’s guidelines state that health and safety law applies to on-the-road work activities and the risks should be effectively managed within a health and safety system.  If your employees use their own vehicles for work purposes, you have the same duty of care to ensure their safety as you would for employees who use company-owned or leased vehicles. Furthermore, various Road Traffic Acts and regulations require employers to ensure that the vehicles used for work purposes are safe and legal to be on the road, and the drivers are appropriately licensed and insured.

To ensure compliance with these regulations, you can take various steps to ensure that your employees are driving safely, responsibly, and legally.

1. Establish a clear policy: The first step is to establish a clear policy regarding the use of personal vehicles for work-related purposes. This policy should outline the rules and regulations that employees must follow when using their vehicles for work, such as ensuring that their vehicles are properly maintained, that they have valid insurance, and that they comply with all road traffic laws and regulations. It should also include details of the procedure employees should follow in the event they are involved in an accident or incident whilst using their personal vehicle for work.  

2. Ensure that employees have proper insurance cover: Cover should be provided under the Employees own Motor Insurance policy and the Employee will have to advise their insurer that they are using the vehicle for business purposes.  This will usually mean an increase in the premium charged. The situation is slightly different if you have any volunteers who use their vehicles on behalf of the organisation. The volunteer should still advise their insurer that they will be using their car on the business of the organisation but in many instances this cover will be provided free of charge.  

3. Conduct vehicle document checks to ensure that all vehicles used for work conform to road traffic law, are safe and properly maintained and are fit for purpose. On an annual basis (or at specified intervals), obtain documentary proof that: the vehicle is properly taxed, MOT’d and serviced and the driver has a valid driving licence and business use insurance cover.  Also check that the driver conducts regular vehicle safety checks.   

4. Provide training on safe driving practices: Make sure that all staff understand that they are expected to drive safely, responsibly, and legally.  Employers should also ensure that employees are aware of any company policies related to the use of electronic devices while driving, such as making or receiving calls. 

5. Consider providing a company vehicle: In some cases, it may be more practical for employers to provide a company vehicle for employees to use for work-related purposes. This can help to minimise the legal and safety risks associated with employees using their personal vehicles for work. However, employers should carefully consider the costs associated with providing company vehicles, such as insurance, maintenance, and depreciation.

6. Keep detailed records: Employers should keep detailed records of employees’ use of personal vehicles for work-related purposes. This can include mileage logs, receipts for fuel or other expenses, and any other relevant documentation. This information can be used to calculate mileage reimbursement or to defend against any potential legal claims related to accidents or other incidents that occur while employees are using their personal vehicles for work.  

By taking these relatively simple steps, you can minimise the risks associated with employees using their personal vehicles for work and ensure that both your organisation and your employees are protected.  As ever the team at Keegan & Pennykid would be delighted to assist with any queries or requests that you may have. 

June Pennykid is Managing Director of Keegan & Pennykid