Company car drivers could face hefty fines whilst driving on the continent this summer as they may not realise that although they are not the legal owner of the vehicle, they still have to take documentation to prove they are legally entitled to use the vehicle.
With the peak summer holiday season upon us, the number of UK drivers planning on crossing The Channel is set to increase, as are the penalties they may face.
When driving in Europe, it is a compulsory requirement to carry with you at all times the original registration document or face penalties if caught.
Fleet management specialist Steve Whitmarsh of Warwickshire-based Run Your Fleet said: “Many company car drivers use their vehicles for leisure and may be oblivious to the laws of other countries.
“If you are taking your company car, as you are not the legal owner you won’t have the V5, but you are still required to take legal documentation that shows you are legally entitled to use the vehicle.
“This is in the form of a VE103 which is the substitute V5 and can be requested from the lease company, or one of the main motoring clubs.
“Many of our customers lease their vehicles, and we highlight the need for the VE103 for driving abroad, as we know that a driver or small business may be unaware of the need.
“A letter of permission to drive the vehicle from the company is not the same and will not be accepted, leaving the driver liable to on the spot fines or even the risk of having the vehicle impounded – something of a nightmare if you have the family on board.
“Once requested, the VE103 will only take a few days to come through, but it is worth allowing extra time on the run up to peak holiday times, such as the summer.”
Driving requirements differ from country to country so it is worth checking these well in advance of your journey.
• Ensure you have the correct insurance and breakdown cover.
• In many European countries it is compulsory to display a GB sticker
• Carry a warning triangle and reflective jackets for each occupant, failure to have either can result in on the spot fines of up to 135 Euros. In France reflective jackets must be in the main cabin of the car not in the boot buried under luggage.
• Ensure your headlamps are correctly adjusted.
• In France it is now a legal requirement to carry breathalysers in the cabin of the car.
• In Spain you may also be given an on the spot fine for driving in open backed shoes, such as flip flops, as this is viewed as restricting your control of the car.