Managing fleet vehicles

What is a vehicle fleet?

Fleet operation is the core business for companies that operate a vehicle fleet for hire or reward, such as taxi, shuttle and other passenger services, truck and tow-truck operators and vehicle rental companies.

Fleet operation is also a key everyday tool for organisations such as district health boards, local authorities, courier companies and enterprises with mobile sales staff.

This section focuses on the use of vehicle fleets, and whether or not you require a transport service licence.

Passenger services
Truck and tow-truck services
Vehicle rental services

Workplace travel plans

As part of our commitment to reducing congestion on New Zealand roads, we encourage you to consider alternative options for your business's travel. You can do this through a 'workplace travel plan', which is designed to encourage your staff to travel to and from work by public transport, on foot, by bike or by car share, and to improve access to your workplace.

A workplace travel plan can help you to:

  • solve parking and space problems

  • save money

  • improve your organisation's image

  • increase opportunities for accessing your workplace

  • promote a healthier and more motivated workforce

  • gain environmental accreditation.

Find out more about workplace travel plans

Choosing your vehicles

Fleet vehicles, like all vehicles used on New Zealand roads must meet a range of requirements.

Read guidance on importing vehicles
More about choosing a safe vehicle

Maintaining your vehicles

As an important tool for your business, your vehicles require regular inspections and maintenance to ensure they are safe to use on the roads and perform efficiently.

Vehicles that are maintained safely and efficiently also cost less to run, are less likely to be out of service for extended periods and are less likely to be involved in crashes.

Warrants of fitness and certificates of fitness

All vehicles must be regularly inspected to check their roadworthiness. This includes ensuring they continually meet warrant of fitness (WoF) and certificate of fitness (CoF) standards.

Light vehicles

For light vehicles, such as most cars, vans, utes and four-wheel drives, this involves a warrant of fitness (WoF) check.

Find out more about WoF requirements

Heavy vehicles

Heavy vehicles, such as trucks, buses and heavy trailers, and vehicles operating under a transport service licence, must undergo a certificate of fitness (CoF) inspection every six months, regardless of their age.

Find out more about CoF requirements
Find out about transport service licences

Keeping your vehicle up to standard

It's your responsibility to keep your vehicle in the same condition as when it passed the WoF or CoF. For example, while the tyres on a vehicle may pass on the day of its inspection, you'll need to replace them before the tread gets to the minimum depth. If you wait until the next inspection you increase the risk of having a crash or receiving a fine.

It's illegal to drive a vehicle:

  • if it doesn't meet WoF of CoF requirements.
  • if it doesn't display a valid WoF or CoF label.

You can drive your vehicle on the road under these circumstances only when taking it for a short distance for repair or to get a new WoF or CoF - and it's safe to do so.

Fuel-efficient vehicles

By choosing a fuel efficient vehicle or changing driver habits you can save fuel and reduce emissions. 

Find out more about features that affect the environment

EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) has advice on running fleets of heavy and light vehicles.

Visit EECA's transport page(external link)

Checking vehicles before use

Encourage your drivers to do a simple pre-use 'walk-around' check before they drive any vehicle.

This will help ensure the vehicle is safe to operate and enable you to identify the need for, and schedule, repairs and maintenance – reducing the need to deal with unexpected breakdowns. That could also mean long-term savings for your business.

As a minimum, drivers should check that:

  • tyres are inflated with close-to-equal pressure and have a legal tread depth with no uneven wear
  • wheel nuts (where they can be seen) are in place and the wheels appear undamaged
  • there's no obvious damage to the vehicle that could be considered dangerous
  • indicators, tail lights and brake lights operate correctly and the lenses are not cracked or broken
  • headlights work on both high and low beam and lenses are not cracked or broken
  • windscreen washers and wipers operate satisfactorily
  • the horn operates satisfactorily
  • the vehicle registration and WoF or CoF are current (as well as the road user charges label if you have a diesel or heavy vehicle)
  • safety belts are in good condition
  • the engine fluid levels (water and oil) are correct.

More about road user charges

Reporting vehicle faults

Best practice fleet management includes a system for drivers to report any vehicle faults they find, and a process for advising drivers on what happens about the reported faults. Make sure you have a vehicle fault reporting and resolution system in your business.

Assessing the costs of crashes

The true cost of a crash is always far greater than the cost of repairing the physical damage to the vehicle (the visual cost). International guidelines suggest that up to 90 percent of the true cost of a motor vehicle crash is not always readily apparent. This is often referred to as the 'iceberg effect'.

Your insurance broker or agent can help you to identify the true cost of motor vehicle crashes in your fleet and their effects on your business's financial viability.

Driver requirements

You must ensure that your drivers hold a current and valid licence and endorsements for the class of vehicle they are driving. 

More about driver licences
More about endorsements

Investing in driver training

No matter how sophisticated a vehicle’s technology, driver behaviour is the most crucial factor in avoiding crashes.

You can improve safety for your drivers and other road users by investing in driver training – so they know how to use their vehicles, and have a good understanding of your expectations of their behaviour while driving.

More driver training options are available through MITO, the training organisation for the road transport industry.

Visit the MITO website(external link)

Ensuring workplace safety

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, a work-related vehicle is considered part of the workplace. This means that the health and safety rules applying to the workplace also apply to work-related motor vehicles.

Read more about the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015(external link)

Safe driving good practice guidelines

The following guidlines have been designed for fleet managers to help when designing driving policies. They are a guideline and are not intended to be policy. The guidelines include information on vehicle safety features; vehicle checks, driving behaviour and also include information on the Safe System and the latest electric vehicles available.

Read the safe driving good practice guidelines [PDF, 5.1 MB]

If you need more help

Call our contact centre for advice on and help with complying with all transport-related rules, regulations, and vehicle standards and requirements.