Fleet managers starting new trend in commercial van sector

Fleet managers are moving to make drivers of company vans much more responsible for the condition of their vehicle as they try to minimise the end of contract charges, as well as reinforcing the residual values of the van.

Research shows that a number of fleet managers have either implemented new and more stringent driver policies or they have tightened up on existing policies. They also want to reduce the number of commercial van insurance claims made each year. An important element of this is the continued education of all drivers in order to encourage them to spend time and effort on keeping the vehicle in excellent condition.

Gary Killeen, who carried out the research, said “The story of 2012 in fleet has been about how a large number of businesses are revisiting some of the basic areas of their company van schemes to see whether there is potential for greater control to be achieved. This is set to continue as we look toward 2013. Addressing how drivers maintain vehicle condition is just one of the ways in which cost can be controlled. Fleets are getting much tougher on drivers on a number of areas such as ensuring that vehicles are serviced on time, spare keys are not being lost, kerbed alloys are being repaired and minor scratches and dents are being fixed.”

Failure to maintain any one of these areas will quite often run into hundreds of pounds per van when it comes to charges at the end of contracts and will also knock significant amounts off residual values. For many years fleet managers have been fairly relaxed about drivers almost ignoring the condition of the van they drive for work, but this is something that is changing. The assumption that drivers treat a van in a shoddy fashion because it is a company vehicle and not their own property will no longer be tolerated by many businesses. What has been seen over the course of 2012 is a tightening up of driver policy and an increased willingness to charge drivers for some of the value that their carelessness has cost their employer.

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