Motor insurance is one of a few mandatory requirements that need to be adhered to in order to drive any light commercial vehicles such as vans on Britain’s roads legally.
Having the appropriate and required insurance cover for vans means that they (and their drivers) are covered for the most common occurrences on our roads such as accidents, theft and vandalism.
But did you know that many tradesmen are driving their vans every day, thinking that they are fully covered by their insurance policies, but are actually not covered at all?
Van owners falling afoul of the law
A recent study by insurance company AXA has suggested that 3 out of 10 firms have not actually checked the insurance details for employees using their company vans. What is also concerning, is that 8% of those businesses have not even bothered to check whether their employees hold a valid driving licence. There were even some companies, a whopping 15%, who did not even know whether their vans had valid MOTs or not!
Another major issue that is not always addressed is employees using their company vans for personal purposes. For example, they may give relatives and friends a lift somewhere, help someone move house by using the van to transport furniture and other items, and even using their company van to transport another business’s goods.
Businesses as well as drivers can be held accountable
Because of many company’s lax attitudes towards vetting their employees and checking their own vans have appropriate insurance cover and maintenance documentation to be able to legally drive on our roads, there are certain consequences of such actions.
For example, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (2007) states that if an employee driving a commercial light vehicle such as a van is involved in an accident which leads to the death of a third party.
The business can be liable for such actions as although it was the driver that led to the third party’s death, the business can be held accountable if they did not take sufficient steps to ensure that the driver was medically capable and fully licensed to drive their company vehicle, or if the van was poorly maintained and was the cause of the death (for example, it had faulty brakes).
This law can also apply if the employee lends their van to a friend or relative, and a fatal accident results from this action. Again, the company can be held accountable.
How to make sure everything is in order
In order to avoid any of those sorts of problems from happening to your firm or your employees, it is important to make sure that everything relating to your van fleet and drivers is in order.
Make sure that employees have a full driving licence suitable to drive your vans, and that they do not use the van for personal use in any circumstances;
Use a specialist van leasing company to manage your fleet and help ensure that all of your vans are maintained to a high standard.