Tag Archives: Company Car

Is an alcoholic driving your company car?

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Not sold on drug and alcohol testing for employees? Do you offer company car benefits? You might want to rethink your policy.

Company cars carry benefits and risks

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Company cars are great incentives – just make sure employees driving them can be trusted.

Company cars are nothing new. Programs allowing employees to use a business-owned automobile for work (and sometimes personal use) are rather common in corporate America and small business. Some offer them when employees’ job descriptions cannot be fulfilled without transportation. Others offer company-owned vehicles as a compensation bonus and “perk” to the job. Regardless of why you offer a company car, if you do, here are a few things to consider.

Respondeat superior

Not familiar with legal terms? If you’re a business owner, you need to learn the concept of respondeat superior.

Basically, this means that as an employer, you are responsible for your employee’s actions while they are on the job. So, if they’re driving the company car on work time to do a work task and an incident occurs – chances are you will be held liable in some way.

Even if an accident involved the employee’s negligence (for example, the employee had been drinking), if you own the car you might still be involved in the claims process and final judgment.

Negligent entrustment of the vehicle

According to one legal advice website,

If the company failed to check the employee’s driving record or should have known that the employee had medical or other conditions that impacted the operation of the vehicle, it can be found liable for negligent entrustment of the vehicle. – attorneys.com

The laws of each state and court case will vary but this advice is enough to advocate for drug and alcohol testing of employees.

Don’t put your business at risk for appearing negligent due to a lack of drug or alcohol testing. Ensure employees can be trusted behind the wheel of a company car.

Guidelines and terms of use

If you decide to offer employees a company vehicle, make sure to outline your expectations and guidelines for use. The National Federation of Independent Business recommends:

  • “Outline the procedures for handling accidents, servicing, mileage, mobile phone conduct and inappropriate usage.”
  • “Clearly note who can and cannot drive a company car.”
  • “Have your employee sign a driver’s acceptance form outlining all conditions and terms of usage.”

This should include expectations on driving sober at all times and a no-tolerance policy for drugs or alcohol in a company vehicle.

Prevent company car losses

There are pros and cons to offering company cars. Vehicles can be a great incentive and retention strategy. Very few employees grumble when they receive a company car to use – especially when it’s allowed for personal purposes.

We recommend meeting with your attorney and someone knowledgeable in liability insurance for company cars to determine how to best protect your business from loss in the event an accident occurs.

Another policy to consider is employee drug and alcohol screening to reduce risks and ensure those using your company vehicles are safe and reliable.

Need a drug and alcohol testing partner for your business? We recommend ARCpoint Labs – find a location nearest you!