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If you are running a fleet of more than three or four vehicles, then it needs managing – whether it’s as straightforward as maintenance to the more complex challenges.

If you’re big enough you can do this in-house but for SMEs specialist companies can help to reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve driver safety and free-up time,

Software companies can provide vehicle management and maintenance, accidents, fuel and risk with functionality to track vehicles while they are on the road. They can also offer telematics to give managers visibility over how vans are used by drivers.

A fleet management service can reduce downtime and improve driver safety.

Here is why fleet management is important for business:

There are more than 3.6 million vans used for business across the UK and the police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have the power to carry out spot checks on your vehicles and issue prohibitions if necessary.

As part of targeted roadside checks, DVSA stops around 15,600 vans each year. So, your fleet management software can make sure you stay the right side of the law.

For example, you need a goods vehicle operator’s licence if your business uses vans above a certain weight.

You need a licence to carry goods in a van with either a design gross weight of over 3,500kgs or an unladen weight of more than 1,525kg.

Vans with a design gross weight of up to 3,500kg need an MOT every year when they reach 3 years old while those with a design gross weight of over 3,500kg need a goods vehicle annual test each year.

The software also helps tomjm manage your people. As an employer, you must:

  • Monitor your drivers’ working time
  • Ensure they don’t go over the limit
  • Record working time and keep the records for at least 2 years

DVSA encourages all van drivers to take a 45 minute rest for every 4.5 hours of driving in line with EU rules.

Don’t overload. The ‘design gross weight’ is the maximum weight your van can weigh when it’s loaded. It’s sometimes called the ‘gross vehicle weight’ or ‘laden weight’.

The design gross weight is the total combined weight of:

  • vehicle
  • driver (and any passengers)
  • fuel
  • the load and anything the van is carrying

Always use the right vans with the right size, load capability and equipment for the job and don’t load vans beyond their design gross weight.

You should also maintain fitted specialist equipment like tail lifts and tow bars

To manage risks and costs fit a 70mph limiter on vans used on the motorway – most vans use 25% more fuel at 80 mph than at 70 mph, also fit parking sensors to protect pedestrians, employees and your vans in crowded urban areas

You should always know who is driving your vans for work by requesting references, take more than one form of ID from drivers and cross-check them with their driving licence details

Ensure you follow the same ID process for agency drivers – you’re responsible for them when they’re driving your vans and check all drivers have a valid driving licence for driving your vans – keep copies on file.


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Chris Wright
Chris Wright has been covering the automotive industry nationally and internationally for 30 years. Following spells with consumer titles he became News Editor of Automotive Management (AM), Editor of Automotive International, International Editor for Detroit-based Automotive News, and Editor of Dealer Update. He has also co-authored several FT Management Reports and contributes regularly to Justauto.com

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