By Randy Shadley, CAFM, ProFleet Solutions, LLC
Question: What do Yogurt, Yoga, and Your liability have in common?
Answer: They are all related to a California Court of Appeal ruling (Moradi v Marsh USA), where the insurance company, Marsh USA, Inc., was found to be liable for damages when one of its employees — who regularly used her personal vehicle for company business — was involved in a crash after work on personal time, while headed for frozen yogurt on the way to a yoga class in her personal car.
You read that right: personal car, personal time, personal errands after work, employer responsible for damages. Not for damages to the employee’s car, mind you, but damages to the third party. This ruling, handed down last September, challenged the previous – and well established – understanding that employers were not responsible for the “comings and goings” of employees’ during their commutes.
Why is a crash in an employee-provided vehicle important to fleet managers?
I hope you are already involved in your employer’s policies regarding not just fleet vehicles, but any and all vehicles used for company business. This includes Auto Allowance programs, per-mile reimbursement for business use of personal vehicles, vehicles rented while on business travel, and vehicles rented for use while a company vehicle is out of service. If you are not already involved with those “non-fleet” vehicles I encourage you to step up and use your fleet expertise to benefit your employer in these other, related areas.
As evidenced by the “Moradi v Marsh” decision, courts are increasingly ruling that non-fleet vehicle drivers are, or should be, governed by the same standards, policies, and practices that apply to fleet drivers. What a great opportunity to show (and increase!) your value to management.
I hope you’ll stay tuned to this column and share your thoughts with me. Call me at (303) 472 – 2227 if you’d like to talk about these or any other related topics.