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10 Top Tips to keep your SME fleet legally compliant

IF YOU run a small fleet of 5 or more vehicles you have a legal obligation to ensure you assess the road risk of your drivers and that your company cars comply with safety and documentation requirements.

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Many small business owners understand these responsibilities and ensure that their company cars and drivers operate under the rules of Corporate Governance and meet HSE requirements. 

It’s crucial that you can demonstrate that the vehicle is safe and the driver is trained

10 Top Tips of what you need to do split up into the requirements for drivers and vehicles. 


1.  Keep full records and vehicle documentation where they are both safe and accessible. Appoint someone sensible to be responsible for them. For each vehicle you should have the V5 (log book), insurance documentation, MOT (if applicable), service records and maintenance reports.

2.  Keep a dedicated ‘Daily Log’ for each vehicle, where regular checks can be recorded. These must show that every vehicle is safe, and roadworthy. This becomes the vehicle’s ‘audit trail’.
These daily checks are done by the vehicle’s driver and/or the business car manager, but whoever does it, keep contemporaneous notes on what was found and what action was taken to correct any faults or damage.

3.  Don’t neglect those company cars that are used only occasionally, and don’t neglect employees’ own cars that are used on company business – the so-called ‘grey fleet’. If the vehicle is being used on company business, you are responsible for ensuring that it is legal and roadworthy. It even applies to contractors’ vehicles.

4.  Resolve problems straight away, and if you find something dangerous or even just potentially dangerous the vehicle must not be used.


5.  Your responsibilities cover any driver working on your company business. So whether the driver is a full or part-time employee, an agency driver or someone working for a sub-contractor, you must ensure that they are fit to drive.

6.  You must have a ‘Driving at Work’ policy for your business drivers.
Keep it up to date as legal obligations and requirements change.
Give a copy to every driver; they should sign to confirm they’ve received it, and again to confirm they’ve read and understood it, and will comply with its requirements.
Your Driving at Work policy should cover such issues as mobile phone use, smoking, eating, driving, drug use, speeding and other driving offences. It should describe what the driver should do in the event of an accident. Consider the risks your drivers may encounter if, for example, you expect them to make long journeys or deliveries, and cover these points too.

7.  Always do a full driver’s license check, not just a simple visual check. The information needs to come from the DVLA to ensure that you achieve compliance and are 100% sure the driver is legal to drive.
License checking is a vital part of the risk management process. It should be repeated at least annually, and more frequently for drivers with points on their licenses. I always recommend that companies check drivers’ licenses before they are employed – and that includes agency and part-time workers.

 8.  You have a legal responsibility to assess each and every driver for road risk. This can be done online but it’s imperative to remember that if any driver shows up as ‘high risk‘, you must follow up the assessment with training.
Again, much of this can be done online unless the driver’s risk assessment demands in car training. Online training is cost effective, particularly if large groups of drivers are involved, it ensures that you can demonstrate that you have met your Duty of Care, and it creates an audit trail for your records.

9.  If your risk assessment finds a driver who is at high risk, failure to act can mean that you may be held culpable if the driver is subsequently found to be at fault in an accident.
Since you knew there was a risk, it was your responsibility to act and failure to do so puts you in a worse position than if you’d been ignorant of the risk.
So make sure that you satisfy yourself that you have access to remedial training before you begin your risk assessments.

10.  It is  also recommended  that you ask that your drivers to take annual health and eyesight checks which can catch problems early and help to ensure drivers are physically fit to drive and comply with the minimum eyesight requirement.  

It seems exhaustive but it’s worth implementing a plan of action and a driving at work policy.

Comply and stay legal or, chance your arm and hope that your drivers aren’t involved in an accident where the consequences leave your and the company exposed to prosecution through criminal or civil proceedings.

We hope you will find the above information usefull as we  feel we should always try to keep  all our CVSL customers  well informed about any new  legal requirments.


10 ways to cut fuel consumption and improve safety

Everyone is always looking for ways to cut there fuel costs so we have put together  a few little tips which  can help cut your fuel consumption and also increase your road safety ! 

1.  Think economy – drivers need to be less aggressive in the way they gain and lose speed – be smoother with the car’s controls and take more time to change gear and, taken over a period of time, to use a higher gear than at present.

Acceleration uses fuel and the more aggressively you accelerate, the more fuel is used.  It’s easy to understand in principle but important to remember when actually driving.  Allow more time to accelerate up to any given speed.

And it needn’t cost time! So often drivers accelerate hard only to have to brake hard seconds later because of some obstruction they haven’t seen or haven’t considered. It’s not because they’re in a legitimate hurry, it’s because this is their driving style. That brings us to:

2.  Braking:  the fuel saving equation also includes braking.  Losing speed by braking means that all the gas you used to accelerate is wasted. So its easy to save fuel by ensuring you gain speed gradually and ease off the throttle when you see something ahead rather than just brake automatically.  Use less braking than usual – by releasing the throttle earlier, over a longer period of time, so the need for braking is reduced.

And when braking is actually required (because your observation and planning have recognised that) then brake progressively and smoothly.

3.  Opening up your separation / following distances will allow you to use throttle sense much more often, rather than constantly braking every time you need to lose speed.  Don’t be a ‘comfort braker’ and touch the brakes every time something changes ahead – you need to predict when you need to lose speed so it’s calculated and planned.Paying more attention to when you change up, and when you change down, will stop over-revving or ‘labouring’, and both cost fuel

4.  Pay attention to your gear changes. Neither over-rev the engine by changing up too late nor allow the engine to labour by changing down too late.  Keep engine revs lower when driving away from cold and allow the engine time to warm up.

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Use ‘block changes’ when you can, say when driving down a slight gradient – by missing out a gear. For example change from 1st to 3rd, or from 2nd to 4th. This is even more relevant now that cars increasingly have six gears.

Changing down through the gears is out-dated and unnecessary – use your ‘brakes to slow and gears to go’! Use the advanced driving rule of ‘One Brake and One Gear’ for each hazard.  

5. Reduce throttle when driving down hill. Often drivers unwittingly increase speed going down hills. Instead, use less throttle and allow the car’s own momentum to allow it to maintain speed and lessen the need to brake too.

6.  Reduce weight; take things you don’t need out of the car as the less weight you’re carrying the less fuel you’ll use. 

7.  Check tyre pressures regularly as under-inflated tyres use more fuel. Always check tyre pressures when the tyres are cold.

8.  Minimise the  use of air-conditioning and keep windows closed to reduce drag.

9.  Observation and planning – this is really important. Spotting hazards earlier creates more time to deal with them so you’ll be both safer and more economical in the way you drive. Start by looking much further ahead and keep your eyes moving, in effect like a radar scanning for potential and actual road hazards. 

Advanced observation and advanced planning will ensure you drive more safely, be more in control of any potential or actual outcomes, and save fuel at the same time.  Overall what drivers need to do is create ‘more time and more space’. 

Remember that a crash only happens when a driver runs out of time or space!  

10.  Increase separation distances – use less braking – develop throttle sense – gain and lose speed progressively – keep to posted speed limits as nobody expects you to break road traffic laws when driving on business.

Even if you just take on board a couple of these suggestions you may be suprised by how much it saves you in fuel and you will definatly be a safer driver.


A Great Achievement By Our Sales Manager Stuart

Congratulations to CVSL 's Sales Manager  Stuart and his mate Dave who  completed  there charity bike ride over the Trans Pennine Trail (Southport to Hornsea – 220miles)  in an amazing 26½ hours with no sleep and in aid of  the Alzheimer’s Society. Here is Stuarts account of how it went !

''We started off in fine form, full of beans (a bagel, porridge and a bottle of Lucozade)! We were met by my wife, my little boy and a bag of fresh egg sandwiches at the 1st stop (not sure which one I was happier to see) and from there it slowly slipped downhill as in all honesty, mother nature was not as kind to us as you lot!!! To say we were drenched for the vast majority of the ride is a massive understatement and it wasn’t until approx 2am when a man at a level crossing (don’t ask and yes, TWO AM) told me ‘you can only get so wet’, that I finally came to terms with it!!

We didn’t have enough dry clothes as we weren’t expecting such miserable weather and so found ourselves changing back into less wet clothes before heading off once more, we also got lost in a sleepy village around 3am and wasted numerous miles cycling around soaking wet, freezing cold (im trying to paint a picture) with no idea, trying to find a little blue sign to send us the right way. This is where you guys came into it. Though you probably weren’t awake it was the weight of your generosity (and our support vehicle not knowing where we were) that spurred us on, I hate to say it but we did think of quitting (you may gasp) as we were that low, but thought how would I break the news to you generous souls especially when you’ve given to such a great charity!! We dug deep however and made our way through to the support vehicle….another 65 miles awaited!!!  

I could sit here any type until my fingers bleed but I don’t feel it would convey to you how deep we had to dig on this, diversions, crane sights, falling asleep at the handle bars, an angry Yorkie (dog not chocolate bar…though I did have a couple of Biscuit and Raisin) and one fall (yes it was me but I’m fine thanks)

Well done Stuart, We will keep you posted when Stuart decides on his next challenge  !!

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Summer Car Maintenance Tips

Engine coolant levels

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Six million motorists around the UK are risking a repair bill of over £1,000 by failing to regularly check that their engine coolant is at a recommended level according to the AA. This is absolutely vital if you are to prevent overheating in the summer.

It is recommended that you check that your coolant fluid level is between the maximum and minimum marks on the tank at least once a week when the engine is cold. If the coolant level has dropped, make sure that you get it checked out at your local garage because ordinarily coolant levels should remain at the same level between services.

Cooling fan

The cooling fan is activated automatically when an engine begins to overheat, drawing air in through the radiator in order to cool the engine. However, if the fan seizes then the engine coolant will likely begin to boil which could cause significant damage to the engine.

The only way to check on the health of your cooling fan is to turn the heater to cold and run the car to normal temperatures (i.e. the middle of your temperature gauge). Once this has been reached, keep the engine running while parked up but do not use the car for five minutes. The fan should automatically kick in after this length of time.

A problem will be in evidence if the fan fails to activate and your engine temperatures start to spiral upwards. If this is the case simply switch your engine off and seek assistance from your breakdown cover provider or local mechanic.


Regardless of how careful you have been to ensure that you have the correct engine coolant levels and a fully functional engine cooling fan; sometimes the heat can still get a bit too much for your vehicle, particularly if you are stuck in a holiday traffic jam.

Best way of dealing with this is to turn the heater on to full and activate your air conditioning until the problem subsides.


Punctures are the most common cause of summer breakdown according to the AA; with high temperatures often aggravating damage which may already be present. It is therefore important to monitor your tyre pressures; checking them every week ensuring that they comply with the manufacturers stated guidelines. These can be found either in your vehicle handbook or on the inside of the driver’s door. If tyre pressures are dropping surprisingly quickly in one tyre, it could be an indication of a slow puncture.

It is also not unheard of for a bit of rain to fall during the summer in theUK. Having a tyre tread depth which is at least 1.6mm is therefore vital; this is the minimum which is required by law. This is important because tyre tread is used to disperse water which may be lying on the road surface; the bigger the tread, the more water that can be dispersed and the less likely you are to lose control of your vehicle.

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Glare from the sun will be made worse by a dirty windscreen which will increase the likelihood of motorists becoming involved in accidents as a result of poor visibility. You should therefore make sure that you keep your vehicle stocked up with windscreen wash so that this process can be done while on the move.

However, wiper blades that are worn out will only exacerbate vision problems and negate the benefits of windscreen wash. Make sure that placement wipers are sourced out when ever required.

Air Conditioning

Anyone who has been stuck in a traffic jam in a hot car during the summer will know how valuable air conditioning is. Air conditioning units can also help to reduce pollen levels in vehicles for those who suffer from hay fever. It is therefore important to make sure that your system is fully prepared for this period.

It is estimated that 15% of the refrigerant gas will be lost annually and you should therefore ideally have your air conditioning unit serviced either every 30,000 miles or every two years so as to avoid costly repairs. However, remember not to use air conditioning all the time as it will increase fuel consumption.

Air filter

The air filter is designed to keep dirt and debris from entering your car; it therefore has a tendency to become clogged up, particularly in the summer.

You can aid the air flow coming into the engine by replacing the filter in your vehicle every year. This is something which should be done during your annual service.


Planning on driving to a holiday destination in your vehicle during the summer? Then you better make sure that the brakes are working correctly.

Go to a local garage and instruct them to check your brake pads, discs and also your brake fluid levels so as to ensure maximum peace of mind before you set off on your travels.

Oil Levels

Oil is the like a blood supply which flows through your engine, so check that your car’s oil levels are between the maximum and the minimum on your dipstick in order to avoid causing potentially irreparable damage. This should ideally be checked at least once a week.

We hope these few little tips will help give you  hassle free motoring  in this mini heatwave, but even when the Sun stops shining   you should keep up with the regular maintenance as it will save you time and money in the long run.

Also don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook for your chance to win a TomTom satellite navigation system,and we will also keep you upto date with all our news and special offers.


The Trans Pennine Trail – In a Day (ish!)

Stuart our Sales Manager here at CVSL and his mate Dave are attempting to cycle  across the Trans Pennine Trail (Southport to Hornsea – 220miles) in as close to 24 hours as possible in aid of Alzheimer’s.

Stuart recently lost a member of his family to Alzheimer’s and it wasn't until he and his  family had been through the trauma  that it really hit home how emotionally devasting the disease is to all those affected. He saw at first hand how hard it is when the person you love has no recollection of who you are it becomes very soul destroying for the family who actually become the carers.

There is no formal programme currently available for carers of people with dementia and that's where we can all make a huge difference. With our support The Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer Scotland will be able to launch the first UK wide dementia carers programme, giving 9,000 carers the information and skills they need to support their loved one to live well with dementia.

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If anyone wishes to donate and support Stuart in his task find his just giving page here zp8497586rq