The directive, scheduled for 2003, will apply to cars, vans, heavy commercial vehicles and road-going equipment such as plant. The plans could send the cost of administration in fleets rocketing as they have to keep track of their own vehicles and any rental vehicles.
Jack Wyatt, financial services manager for Colas, which specialises in road maintenance and construction, has warned that companies need to act quickly to prepare for the changes, particularly if they rely heavily on daily rental firms. Colas, which has a 700-strong fleet including about 300 cars and vans, spends about £2 million a year on rental.
Wyatt said: 'The directive will have an impact on businesses and plans should be drawn up to determine such fundamental issues as central or decentral control and reporting, methods of reporting and who is hiring vehicles.'
Lorraine Wright, managing director of ARVAL PHH Accident Management, backed his fears, saying: 'It will take significant expenditures of time, money and technical expertise for fleets to adapt their records for inclusion on the database. 'With fleets already bracing for a estimated 25% rise in the cost of their premiums, the last thing they need is the headaches that this EU Directive will bring.'