The ban does not extend to personal contract purchase vehicles on the 165-vehicle fleet, of which there are only two, because they have guaranteed servicing as part of their maintenance contract. Phillippa Caine, company secretary, said: 'If you are driving your own car and you need to go out on business, then you must use a pool car or a rental car.
'With a private car, we have no idea whether it has been serviced regularly or not, and we have a duty of care to protect our drivers on company business. Using vehicles we have control over means we can ensure they are roadworthy.'
The company has already banned the use of mobile phones while driving and the latest move signals an early reaction to warning signs that the Government wants action over fleet safety. The influential Work-Related Road Safety Task Group is due to publish a discussion document on preventing at-work road accidents with the aim of cutting fleet accident rates.