As countdown to the summer holiday season begins in earnest, fleet management specialist Venson Automotive Solutions is highlighting the extra considerations required for drivers planning to take their company car across The Channel – or the Irish Sea.
Firstly, company car drivers should check cars are fully insured, fully prepared for European driving and that they have the necessary VE103B (Vehicle on Hire Certificate) from their employer or leasing company to prove permission to take the vehicle outside of the UK.
The VE103B is an authenticated document and an acceptable substitute for the V5C. It is produced by the DVLA and contains details of the vehicle along with the name and address of the hirer or lessee. It enables the police and other authorities to verify that the person driving the vehicle has permission from the asset owner to do so. Drivers should check with their fleet manager and allow at least two weeks for processing of the paperwork.
In addition, if employees plan to tow a trailer or caravan, their licence will need to include category BE. Those driving electric vehicles should also take time to carefully plan their route to include charging stops, and ensure they have the necessary accounts to charge at these stations. Some UK accounts can be used worldwide, and there are also services allowing drivers to access multiple charging networks through one account.
“Required paperwork for drivers varies by country, as do the rules of the road,” commented Simon Staton, Director of Client Management for Venson Automotive Solutions. “Anyone planning to drive abroad, whether they will hire a vehicle or drive their own private car or a company car, must check the local requirements and laws, whether or not they have driven abroad in the past. Rules are regularly updated and vary even down to what emergency equipment you carry in the car and how much alcohol can be in your system when you drive. Breaking these laws could lead to fines or worse, so drivers must be fully informed and prepared.
“Businesses that allow their drivers to take company cars abroad should help their drivers to make the necessary checks and familiarise themselves with local driving regulations. The business must also play its part in getting the necessary documentation and insurance in place. Consequences of not having the VE103B certificate can vary immensely across borders, and depending on the local rules, not having one could lead to the company car being impounded abroad. It goes without saying that this could have a negative impact far beyond ruining a family holiday.”
Venson checklist for driving abroad
- Get covered – Drivers need insurance, their driving licence, roadside assistance and paperwork for any trailer or caravan they will tow.
- Know the rules – It is important drivers familiarise themselves with local driving rules. If laws or speed limits are broken, foreign police forces can prosecute drivers even once they return to the UK.
- Get your stickers – UK vehicles will require certain stickers before leaving home shores: a UK sticker if UK is not featured on the number plate or the vehicle still has a pre-Brexit GB sticker, headlight converter stickers unless the beam can be manually adjusted and emission stickers if visiting certain cities.
- All aboard – As well as the relevant paperwork and VE103B/V5C, many countries require all drivers to carry certain emergency equipment inside the car, such as reflective vests, a fire extinguisher and warning triangles.
- Good to go – To help avoid the risk of a breakdown, vehicles should have a health check before travelling overseas. Tyre pressure and tread, fluid levels, wiper blade condition and light bulbs are some of the most important items to check.
- Check charging options – EV drivers should research charging stations available along their route and ensure they will be able to access the relevant networks, whether through a UK-based account or a multi-network service.
Further information on driving abroad as well as the specific requirements and regulations for each country can be found on the GOV.UK website.