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Costs to consider when making vehicle related decisions include acquisition costs, importation costs, fuel costs, insurance, repairs, maintenance costs, labor costs, toll and parking costs and disposal costs among others. The investment required for the equipment to be installed in the vehicle, such as communications or safety equipment, shouldn’t be neglected when budgeting.  If organizations do not take all the costs related to owning a fleet of vehicles (when calculating their fleet costs), it can lead to a series of challenges (e.g. insufficient funds to maintain and repair the vehicles, to hire a fleet manager or to organize driver training.

Vehicle Selection and




Basic considerations when it comes to choosing the most suitable passenger vehicle are related with its intended purpose, number of passengers requiring simultaneous use, and length and frequency of the journeys. Three main options are to be considered at this first stage: motorbike, light vehicle or van/minibus.


It is required to cross-check the vehicle identification (chassis number and engine number) with the administrative documents and the owner identification. Any uncertainty on the ownership or mismatch between the vehicle and the presented documentation should immediately disqualify the vehicle from service.


Validation and induction of rental drivers


Before deciding to lease a vehicle, the ‘whole-life cost’ should be calculated and compared to other procurement options. If leasing is the cheapest option, whole-life costing can then be used to identify the optimum lease period and supplier.

The considerations on purchasing, renting or outsourcing can be summarized in the following table[4]:




Local Purchase

  • Lower transport costs.
  • Fast delivery.
  • Supports the national economy.
  • Might not have the quality or quantity needed.
  • Hid demand for vehicles can generate competition among
  • organizations and lead to extremely high prices.
  • Donor might be reluctant to fund in short term emergency.

Foreign Purchase/Import

  • Possible to acquire more vehicles of good quality.
  • Might lead to lower costs if the organization has global framework with vehicle manufacturer.
  • Longer delivery time.
  • Higher costs to transport vehicle.
  • Might not be able to enter country, depending on national policy and custom regulations.

Renting vehicles  (using local rental providers)

  • Vehicles will only be ordered/used when necessary and can accommodate short trips.
  • Routine maintenance costs are included.
  • No overheads in garage set-up and maintenance.
  • No
  • high initial purchase costs.
  • They might provide insurance and drivers who understand environment and route.
  • The
  • organization loses control over some aspects of its fleet management.
  • Discontinuation of services can cause disruptions in the day-to-day operations.
  • If the rental contract is cancelled for any reason, the
  • organization may have to make heavy investments in vehicle purchase or temporary hire to ensure business continuity
  • .
  • If rental vehicle comes with a driver the quality of the driver needs to be guaranteed.

Outsourcing Transport

  • External provider will take care of everything: drivers, vehicles, fuel, maintenance, insurance, telematics, reporting and more.
  • Fleet management is not the core activity; organizations can focus strictly on programmatic delivery.
  • Increases cost savings, human resource productivity and cash flow.
  • Multiple contract options: per vehicle per journey, per vehicle per day or by the ton.
  • The
  • organization loses control of some aspects of its fleet management.
  • Realistically, safety, speed and quality must be carefully assessed.
  • Discontinuation of services will cause disruptions in day-to-day operations.



Driver Selection and Management

Drivers are an essential component to self-managed fleets, equally as important and the vehicles themselves. Even if an organization has a perfectly maintained fleet, if they are using poor quality drivers, or don’t invest in training drivers, then accidents, damages, cargo loss and possibly issues with fines or lawsuits may occur.



Organisations must Required Skills and Competences

Organizations must ensure that employees involved have the necessary competence to drive safely. Competence is about ensuring appropriate knowledge, skills, attitudes, as well as behaviour  . 

Some of the required skills and competences for drivers are:

  • Driving license.
  • Respect of humanitarian values and adherence to the humanitarian charter and principles
  • Fitness to drive.
  • Ability to apply different driving techniques: defensive driving, off-road driving, eco-driving, etc.
  • Literacy in the working language and able to speak the local language
  • Respect and willingness to work with people from different ethnics and origins
  • Experience with specific vehicles to use (4x4, motorbikes, etc.)
  • Knowledge of basic mechanics.
  • Good knowledge of country roads.
  • Knowing what to do in an accident or emergency.
  • Willingness for continuous improvement (driving skills deteriorate with time; possession of driving licence of itself does not necessarily imply such competence).


Driving for work, can often entail lone driving, without reference to supervisors or other colleagues, over prolonged periods, and drivers could be required to travel and stay outside base overnight.




, Testing and Selecting 

Agencies seeking to maintain their own vehicles and have a staff pool of drivers should ensure that the hiring is carried out conscientiously and skills and knowledge are clearly demonstrated. When recruiting drivers, agencies might consider:


Drivers’ competence to drive safely should be assessed at interview and/or prior to the the allocation of driving tasks. Assessment should take account of the driver’s attitude, road road safety knowledge and driving skills at the wheel as well other evidence such as age, experience, accident and enforcement history, including penalty points status and past past training record. The following can be used as assessment checklist[5]:


1.       General

  • Years of driving experience.
  • Health issues or regular use of medicines which could affect driving.
  • Conduct a simple eyesight test by having the driver read a license plate number from a distance of 20 meters. When in doubt consult a medical person for a proper eyesight test.
  • Assess knowledge on local driving laws (i.e., maximum speeds in certain location, meaning of particular traffic signal).
  • Ask about previous experience with the type of test vehicle.
  • Familiarity with 4WD controls.
  • Knowledge on basic vehicle service.
  • Good practices to load a vehicle, specifically heavy or hazardous goods.
  • How to react in case of an accident.
  • Use of the Logbook.

2.       Vehicle & driving test

a)      Vehicle check: Assess knowledge on what should be checked before starting the engine, why this should be checked and what should be done when faults are detected. Checks may include engine fluids; tires; spare wheel, jack and tools; looking for stains under the vehicle.


b)      Before starting the engine

  • Adjusts the seating and mirrors (yes/no)
  • Ensures that seatbelts are fastened (yes/no)
  • Is the vehicle out of gear, the clutch lever up and the handbrake on?
  • Checks the instrument panel, lights and indicators (yes/no)
  • Assess the knowledge on the meaning of the instrument panel lights

c)       After Starting

  • Listens for abnormal noise (yes/no)
  • Checks the instrument panel, e.g. oil pressure light (yes/no)

d)      Driving off

  • Uses of mirrors and indicators (yes/no)
  • Shows consideration for other traffic (yes/no)
  • Drives off smoothly (yes/no)

e)      Driving and vehicle control

  • Respects the traffic rules and road signs (yes/no)
  • Manoeuvres and control the vehicle correctly (yes/no)
  • Uses mirrors and indicators (yes/no)
  • Uses gears and controls correctly (yes/no)
  • Maintains the right speed considering road condition, load and other traffic (yes/no)
  • Drives defensive (i.e., leaving space between vehicles) (yes/no)
  • Anticipates hazards (yes/no)
  • Shows consideration for other traffic and passengers (yes/no)
  • Shows consideration for the vehicle (i.e., no hard breaking) (yes/no)

f)        Check on particular manoeuvres

  • Emergency stop (Good/Correct/Bad)
  • Hill start (Good/Correct/Bad)
  • Reversing (Good/Correct/Bad)
  • Urban driving (Good/Correct/Bad)
  • Lane changing; overtaking (Good/Correct/Bad)
  • Off-road driving (Good/Correct/Bad)
  • 4W driving (Good/Correct/Bad)

3.       Security awareness

  • Assess knowledge on main driving hazards in the area and measures to mitigate it
  • Handling main present hazards (i.e., checkpoints, car-jacking, crashes, etc.)
  • Behaviour during the assessment (i.e., confident, calm, ability to communicate)

4.       Use of equipment and tools

  • High-jack
  • Vehicle recovery tools
  • Comms equipment (radio, sat-phone, etc.)
  • Uses equipment while driving (yes/no)


Insurance policy should be reviewed to adapt coverage to the organization’s needs. If necessary, a clear policy on covering repair costs should be established and accepted by the staff.



Commissioning refers to the process of bringing the vehicle and users up to the required point of readiness for movements implementation. Commissioning can encompass the following matters:

  • Installing required equipment.
  • Drivers and users briefing and training.
  • Visibility/Identification.
  • Compliance and administrative matters.

 Required vehicle equipmentEquipment

For operating in a given context, additional equipment and vehicle customization may be required. Typical modifications for harsh road conditions may include:


For safety purposes, the basic equipment may include a fire-extinguisher and a first aid kit.

Drivers and users briefing and trainingBriefings and Trainings

Given the risks incurred while operating in certain environments, especially while moving by vehicle, a proper induction to both, drivers and users should be done. For the new drivers, this can be addressed by the fleet manager or other drivers. For the people making use of the fleet, other profiles in the organization can be assigned to deliver the briefing. In any case, the time needed to instruct drivers and users shouldn’t be neglected.


If requiring intensive use of visibility material in the vehicle, make sure to have enough stock to replace it regularly. If using rental vehicles, ensure that the visibility material is handed over once the service is terminated.

Compliance and administrative mattersand Administration

 There are certain liabilities related to the use of vehicles that must be considered by any agency managing a fleet of vehicles.


Except for limited bilateral or regional international agreements, national driving licenses are not recognized in foreign countries. For driving in a country where the driving license is not recognized, an international driving license should be obtained. Visit to learn about bilateral or regional international agreements on driving permit recognition and how to get an international driving permit.


 Whether the vehicles being used are owned, hired or are managed by a third-party, it is important to ensure that all local laws are adhered to. There are different norms that are commonly applicable:


Vehicles may also require a technical clearance certifying that the vehicle is safe for circulation in public spaces. Technical clearance may include environmental considerations such as type of fuel used or levels of CO2 emitted by the exhaust. Technical inspections can be related to the type of vehicle and its purpose, certifying the maximum permissible passengers and weights in terms of gross vehicle weight, axle weight and payload.

Fitness to drive Drive and medical clearanceMedical Clearance[7]


Driving a motor vehicle is a complex task requiring perception, good judgement, responsiveness, and reasonable physical capability. A range of medical conditions, as well as treatments, may impair driving ability. Common examples include blackouts or fainting, sleep disorders, vision problems, diabetes, epilepsy, psychiatric disorders, heart disease, and age-related decline.


It’s important to ensure that your drivers are mentally and physically fit to drive using a process of self-declaration. Drivers must be advised that they must notify management if they have disabilities or conditions that could prevent them from driving safely.



Planning and  Resource



Movement planning and resource allocation are key activities for successful fleet management. Its aim is to respond duly to all movement requests by the use of the existing means while making the most efficient use of resources. The planning must take into consideration elements such as destination, number of passengers, cargo, and match it with available drivers and vehicles ensuring that their condition fits for purpose and is compatible with maintenance schedule.