Tough new police investigation procedures could result in fleets facing prosecution if they refused to accept recommendations on the replacement of tyres and brakes if one of their drivers was involved in an accident.
In the event that an incident involves an occupational driver, the police will be looking for evidence of why the vehicle was at the scene, the mechanical condition of the vehicle and the physical condition of the driver.
The police will want to see maintenance records and know the regular checks carried out to ensure roadworthiness.
Fleet risk management expert David Faithful, partner with Amery-Parkes solicitors, said: 'In the event of an accident and investigations by the police and Health and Safety Executive, companies must be able to show that their fleet is operated along health and safety best practice lines.' He said fleet managers must establish vehicle audit trails as part of their risk management strategies.
Employers running fleets of large vans and HGVs must have operators licences under the terms of which an audit trail is required to show the fleet is being run within the provisions of the licence.
But Faithful added that companies operating small vans or cars are not subjected to an operator licence and are unlikely to have an audit trail in place.
Nigel Davies, head of national accounts at Kwik-Fit Fleet said: 'It is down to the person authorising the work whether our recommendations are accepted. The majority of companies follow our recommendations.
'If companies are truly to have a total vehicle risk management strategy in place it is vital that in the interests of ensuring their employees are driving vehicles which are safe and in the interest of fellow road users that the recommendations of experts are followed.'