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  • Writer's pictureGPSFMS

Why create a vehicle maintenance policy and what to include

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

Use policy to help foster a work culture of safety.

No matter your fleet size, the need to keep vehicles in good working order is a top priority. Creating a vehicle maintenance policy can help with that.

How a policy helps Having a robust set of policies is a best practice for fleet management. A vehicle maintenance policy has many benefits like supporting uptime, improving productivity over time, and optimizing resale value. A written policy can also help promote a culture of safety among your drivers and other employees. Clear rules and procedures encourage others to look for and act on vehicle issues. In doing so, they protect themselves and others in the process, as well as reducing vehicle wear. A policy also provides important documentation in the unfortunate event of a collision or mechanical failure.

Reasons for creating a vehicle maintenance policy

Three core reasons for setting up a fleet maintenance policy include: Duty of Care, driver safety and risk mitigation.

Duty of Care Duty of Care is the legal obligation of an organization or a person to avoid acts or omissions that are likely to cause harm to others. How does this apply to fleet-based organizations? According to the FMCSA, organizations with fleets have to provide suitable, well-functioning vehicles and must systematically maintain and repair them. In this way, having a well-communicated maintenance policy and program is part of Duty of Care. Fleet managers should be able to show a consistent history of compliance and enforcement. The main purpose of creating a formal, written policy in terms of Duty of Care is to:

  • Provide clear instructions to all employees

  • Make sure all policies and procedures are consistent

  • Offer written documentation in the event of a mechanical failure or collision

Driver safety Creating a written vehicle maintenance policy helps to promote a culture of safety for your drivers. Keeping your fleet in good working order helps mitigate driver risk, so that employees are not stranded with a broken down vehicle. Being consistent and specific is key.

Risk mitigation In too many fleets, maintenance is left up to the drivers, and there is little formal documentation on proper fleet maintenance procedures. A written policy that details all proactive efforts towards maintenance scheduling, record keeping and driver training can help. The results are decreased risk by keeping vehicles in good working order and increased driver confidence in their vehicles. By training drivers on consistent policies, processes and procedures, you can ease their burden and help keep them as safe as possible. If your company is larger, HR, Health & Safety managers and executive leadership should also be part of the policy creation process, and can assist with promotion and compliance.

What to include in your policy? When developing your commercial vehicle maintenance policy, think about including:

  • Methods of tracking regular inspection, maintenance and repair per vehicle

  • Methods of recording employee compliance with the maintenance schedule

  • A defined communication system that keeps drivers trained and up-to-date on the latest maintenance procedures.

Here are some other details to consider:

  • Manufacturer-provided service schedules as a minimum frequency, adjusting for special use cases and up-fitted equipment

  • Approved vendors and parts

  • Pre-authorized spend limits and payment methods

  • Whether maintenance will be managed by time, mileage, hours, or a combination

  • Whether maintenance varies by location or vehicle type

  • What to do in the event of an emergency.

How can fleet technology help? Geotab and the Marketplace have many tools to help you stay on track of maintenance scheduling and understand engine health, fuel levels, EV charging, and much more.

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