Tag Archive | "motoring offence"

Employers who provide Employees with Motoring Insurance – The risks….!


Providing motoring insurance to your employees creates various responsibilities and risks.

Risks for the Company

If it’s a company car and the driver is stopped for driving without insurance the company (or an individual within the company) can get a summons for permitting them to drive without insurance. If the company is summonsed it’s a fine. If an individual is summonsed it’s a fine and 6-8 penalty points. If the car belongs to the employee it can result in the company being accused of causing them to drive without insurance.

If the employee is driving for business purposes then they need business use cover. Otherwise they are still driving without insurance if they only have social and domestic cover.

Risks for the Employee

The employee is relying on the company to get it right and make sure the insurance is correct. The driver gets 6-8 penalty points and a fine for using a vehicle without insurance if they get stopped.

Statutory Defence for Employees

If insurance is not in force, a statutory defence is available to an employee in accordance with S143(3) Road Traffic Act 1988 if it can be shown;

1. the vehicle did not belong to him,

2. it was being used in the course of his employment at the time of the offence

3. and he neither knew nor had reason to believe there was not in force in relation to the vehicle such a policy of insurance.

The individual has to prove the criteria on the balance of probabilities. If however he does not fulfil or prove all the above criteria, he will be convicted of driving without insurance.

Special Reasons Arguments

In these circumstances, a Special Reasons argument may be available if to both the employer and the employee if they can show that they genuinely and honestly believed there was insurance in place and that this belief was reasonable.

The full criteria for Special Reasons are set out in the case of R v Wickens (1958). Special Reasons is not a defence but if found, no penalty points will be imposed. The burden is on the defendant to prove on the balance of probabilities that it was reasonable for him to consider he was insured. If the Court does not consider the belief was reasonable, they will impose between 6 – 8 points.

An example of this would be a delivery driver, driving their own van but being employed by a company. Prior to them commencing work, they discuss insurance with their employer and are reassured that they are covered under the company’s trade policy. It transpires that this is only the case if the vehicle is named specifically on the policy. This did not happen, as the employer did not realise, and the police stop the employee for driving without insurance. This would amount to a good Special Reasons for the employee.

Causing An Employee To Drive Without Insurance

If employees do not have insurance, employers also risk between 6 – 8 points for causing or permitting their employee to drive without insurance. Equally, they may have a Special Reasons argument if they can show they genuinely believed insurance was in place. In the above example, the employer would have to show it was reasonable that they did not realise they needed to add the vehicle to the insurance policy. If it was a simple case of the employer not reading the paperwork correctly, the argument is unlikely to succeed, however if the employer was told otherwise by the insurance company for example, this would amount to a good argument.

Types of Insurance Cover

It is not sufficient for insurance just to be in place. The employee must be covered for the driving purpose in question. This depends on the business type and why the employee is driving the vehicle. Some employers for example will allow an employee to take the company vehicle home of an evening and drive back to work the next day. Commuting and business cover is therefore required but the employer would also have to stipulate whether the employee is authorised to drive the vehicle outside of business hours. If agreed, social domestic and pleasure cover is also required. If not, the employer needs to make it very clear that the employee does not have permission to drive the vehicle for this purpose. To avoid potential prosecution, it would be advisable for the employer to provide written confirmation of the position.

If you have any questions or problems in relation to this or any other Motoring Offence Issue then contact Patterson Law.

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