8. Vehicle management


  • Coordinate procurement of vehicles, and ensure their suitability for conditions and aim for standardisation of the fleet.
  • Maintain a vehicle inventory for each type of vehicle.
  • Insure vehicles.
  • Where large numbers of vehicles are required quickly, then rent vehicles.
  • Put systems and guidelines in place for vehicle request, use and monitoring.
  • Always track vehicle movements.
  • Ensure vehicles are well-maintained and employ pre-emptive, regular maintenance programmes.
  • Keep updated individual vehicle files.
  • Ensure that vehicles and vehicle usage conform to safety regulations, including for motorcycles.
  • Report all accidents and complete detailed accident reports.

Administration is responsible for the management of light vehicles owned or used by CARE. The logistics unit is usually responsible for larger, heavy vehicles for programme logistics purposes. Effective vehicle management is essential to allow emergency teams to work effectively and safely.

The Administration unit should determine the specifications of vehicles that are required, in consultation with the Team Leader and other emergency team members, and coordinate their purchase with the procurement unit. Some CARE Members can assist with international procurement of vehicles.

Consider whether two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive is required, based on driving and road conditions, and ensure that appropriate spare parts and accessories are included for the conditions (for example, winch, rescue equipment, spare parts for arduous conditions).

As far as possible, COs should standardise their vehicle fleet. This ensures greatest cost effectiveness and efficiency with the management of repairs and spare parts.

Vehicles should have CARE stickers applied. The exact visibility strategy should be based on advice from the Safety and Security Officer, and be appropriate to the context.

A vehicle inventory must be maintained for all existing and new purchases in CARE’s fleet. Separate vehicle inventory lists should be maintained for sedans, four-wheel drive vehicles, heavy vehicles and motorcycles. See Annex 18.34 for a sample form.

All vehicles should be insured. CARE USA-managed COs should arrange vehicle insurance through the CARE USA Insurance Coordinator (Finance Division) using Annex 18.35 Vehicle Status report. Other COs should contact their Lead Member for advice on insurance arrangements.

The CO should also ensure compliance with local regulations. In some countries, a locally purchased policy is required for registration.

Vehicle rental can be more cost-effective when a large number of vehicles are required in the early stages of an emergency response. Detailed guidelines for renting vehicles are available at Annex 18.36. See also the chapter on Procurement. When renting vehicles, ensure that:

  • rental vehicles meet basic standards for safety and conditions:
    • The vehicle should be legally registered in the country of operation.
    • The condition should be relatively new, with good inner and outer appearance.
    • It should conform with operational requirements (for example, four-wheel drive for off-road use, or sedan for a city).
    • It should have the necessary tools and accessories.
    • It must have complete and valid documentation (technical passport for the vehicle, local insurance, pollution control certificate, valid annual road tax payment, etc.) and a permit to travel to all locations where the operations requires it.
  • rental contracts cover the:
    • days and hours of rental
    • possession of valid documents (specify)
    • repair and maintenance at owner’s cost
    • provision of one paid maintenance day per month
    • requirement to abide by CARE’s standard policies and procedures
    • parking in CARE compound after duty hours to prevent misuse (especially when CARE logos are fixed on those cars) or siphoning of fuel (if CARE is providing fuel).

A sample Vehicle Rental Contract is provided in Annex 18.37.

It is preferable for CARE to rent only the car and to provide its own drivers (refer to Chapter 16 Procurement). If vehicle rental includes a driver, then the contract must also cover working hours, rest breaks, overtime hours and other conditions for the driver.

Ensure terms of payment represent fair practice (see Annex 18.36 Vehicle rental guidelinesAnnex 18.38 Tracking Sheet for Vehicle Rental Payment, and Annex 18.39 Tracking Sheet for Weekly/Monthly Payment for Rented Vehicle).

The Administration unit must put in place an effective system for vehicle use, which allows operational activities to be completed efficiently. The exact system will depend on the needs and size of the operation. In larger operations, it is appropriate for specific cars to be allocated to projects or units, with another pool of cars maintained by administration for general use. The Administration unit manages the use of pooled cars.

Vehicle use should be requested in writing using Annex 11.40 Vehicle Request Form, and submitted to the transport coordinator in the Administration unit who will allocate vehicles. Where vehicles are requested for personal use or movement outside of area, the request must be approved by the Team Leader, using Annex 18.41 Vehicle Movement Authorisation Form. Drivers must have prior authorisation to drive CARE vehicles (Annex 18.42).

All vehicle use must be recorded in a log sheet using Annex 18.43.

Vehicle use must be consistent with CO policy on vehicle use where it exists. General guidelines that should be applied are:

  • Vehicles should be used only to conduct official business during working hours.
  • Official use is defined as the transportation of CARE personnel, CARE counterparts, project participants or goods to undertake legitimate CARE activities.
  • Staff members who use a CARE vehicle are responsible to ensure that it is for official purposes only.
  • Only persons authorised by the Country Director or his/her designate can drive CARE vehicles. See Annex 18.42 for Sample Authorisation to Drive CARE Vehicles.
  • Any employee who uses or allows a vehicle to be used for unauthorised, illegal and/or illegitimate activities is subject to disciplinary action.
  • Any movement outside the area of operation must be approved in writing by the Country Director or his/her designate (for example, Emergency Team Leader) before undertaking such use.
  • Staff may request personal use of vehicles out of hours or on weekends. This must be authorised by the Team Leader.

It is essential to track vehicle movement on a daily basis to ensure CARE staff safety and security, and to ensure that vehicles are not being misused. A Vehicle Availability Board should be established (see Annex 18.44 and Annex 18.45) and tracked as follows:

  • All staff driving a CARE vehicle must fill out the Vehicle Movement Register kept with the security guard or in the administrative office.
  • The security guard on duty should post the provided information on the Vehicle Movement Board to monitor departure and arrival times.
  • The vehicle log book should also be filled out by the driver for point-to-point travel.
  • The vehicle log book should be countersigned by the passenger for each trip as verification.
  • The security guard should immediately report to the transport coordinator if a vehicle is not returned by the specified time.
  • As CARE discourages night driving, staff should properly plan their work/travel to ensure they return back to the office on or before the end of the specified working or daylight hours.

All vehicles should be fitted with appropriate telecommunications equipment to ensure the safety of staff and operations, and permit communication with vehicles (see the chapter on Telecommunications and IT). CARE operations should also consider installing GPS tracking devices in vehicles to enhance safety and security.

Preventive maintenance of vehicles is essential to minimise vehicle downtime, reduce costs and avoid breakdowns that result in safety and security risks.

It is mandatory for all employees who are assigned vehicles to carry out daily vehicle checks. This should be the first activity of a driver or person in charge before the commencement of any activity for that day. A Daily Vehicle Maintenance Checklist is attached at Annex 18.46.

All vehicles should be serviced on a monthly basis, at least every 3,000 km to account for the severe conditions that CARE vehicles are often subjected to. A checklist for the monthly vehicle service is available at Annex 18.47.

In CARE operations with a large vehicle fleet, it is more cost-effective to have a transport coordinator and private workshop. If CARE has an in-house mechanic, it is their responsibility for managing monthly servicing. In a smaller CARE operation, it may not be feasible to set up a maintenance facility. The Administration unit should put in place a contract with a reputable service provider for CARE’s vehicle servicing requirements.

All repairs and maintenance jobs carried out on a CARE vehicle-whether through the CARE workshop or an external repair agency-should be done through a formal Vehicle Work Order Form (Annex 18.50) submitted by the driver and signed by the mechanic and transport assistant.

It is essential to maintain an accurate inventory of all spare parts, using Annex 18.51 Vehicle Spare Parts Bin Card. All spare parts should be issued through Annex 18.52 Spare Parts Request Form. This form should be submitted by the mechanic, supported by the Vehicle Work Order Form to the transport coordinator, and approved by the Administration manager.

Each vehicle should have an individual vehicle paper and electronic file. All original documents, work order and other relevant information such as expenses incurred should be stored in this file under the secure custody of the transport coordinator. A sample of the Electronic Individual Vehicle File is at Annex 18.53.

Safety belts:  CARE policy requires drivers and passengers to wear safety belts at all times. Employees who do not wear seatbelts must face disciplinary action.

Helmets:  CARE policy requires all motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

Traffic regulations:  All CARE personnel authorised to drive CARE vehicles must possess a valid driving licence for the category of vehicle they are driving.  International staff should have international driver’s licences. Drivers must obey all traffic regulations of the country. Penalties that are incurred because of failure to abide by these regulations will be the responsibility of the individual. CARE will not be responsible and will not reimburse any fines resulting due to a traffic violation.

Telecommunications: All vehicles must have means of communication with the base station or office. This could be cell/mobile phones, vehicle-mounted radios or satellite phones (see the chapter on Telecommunications and IT).

Passengers:  Only authorised CARE personnel and CARE project partners are permitted to travel in CARE vehicles. Persons with arms and/or ammunition are not permitted to travel in CARE vehicles. If you are confronted by armed security/military personnel to be given a lift, politely decline.

Driving under the influence of alcohol:  CARE staff are forbidden to drive after consuming alcohol or any intoxicating substance.

Safety equipment:  Ensure that each vehicle has the following safety equipment:

  • fire extinguisher
  • first aid kit
  • jack, jack handle and wheel spanner
  • standard tool kit to a four-wheel drive vehicle

Other do’s and don’ts

  • Observe speed limits.
  • Check vehicle documents to ensure that they are current and in order.
  • Check vehicle for roadworthiness-condition of tyres, functioning lights, indicators, brakes and windscreen wipers.
  • Do not overload the vehicles, either in terms of passengers or weight of cargo
  • Keep all doors fully locked and ensure that windows are also closed properly.
  • Do not park vehicles in known security risk areas.
  • Night parking should only be at authorised places, namely in a CARE compound or residence.
  • Vehicles should not be parked anywhere while containing any goods and/or equipment, especially at night. As far as possible, such items should be removed from the vehicle and placed in a secure storage place.
  • Avoid night travel as much as possible.
  • Observe curfew regulations as they are enforced.
  • If confronted by thieves or armed bandits, do not resist. Calmly get out of the vehicle and follow instructions. Personal safety comes first. All such incidents should be reported to the Country Director and the local police immediately.
  • Always carry important telephone numbers in the glove compartment-this may come in handy in an emergency situation.

See also the Chapter on Safety and security

Motorcycles can be more efficient in terms of fuel consumption and mobility, but are a higher risk and require specific guidelines:

  • Only authorised or designated persons will use a motorcycle. CARE and the motorcycle user will sign an agreement on motorcycle use.
  • A valid motorcycle driving licence is a prerequisite to motorcycle use, and must be carried.
  • The rider must wear a helmet. Failure to wear a helmet will result in disciplinary action.
  • Only one passenger is permitted as a pillion rider.
  • Any accident, major or minor, must be notified in writing to the transport coordinator.
  • Riding a motorcycle with even a minor fault is prohibited.
  • The toolkit should be carried at all times including an extra spark plug, a rag, piece of sandpaper and a long pin to clean the spark plug.
  • Avoid, as much as possible, riding the motorcycle at night and during rain.
  • Restrict the speed limit to 50 km/h.
  • Do not hang weight from the front handle or at the back of the motorcycle, so as to prevent imbalance of motorcycle or entanglement in the rear wheel.

CARE employees are expected to report all vehicle accidents-minor and major-to the CO within 24 hours of occurrence. This should be followed by a complete report in the Vehicle Accident Report Form (Annex 18.54). The CO, in turn, should inform the relevant insurance coordinator if any damage or loss may be covered by insurance, or if an event may result in liability damages against CARE.

Procedures to be followed in case of an emergency are:

  • Leave the vehicle in the position where the incident occurred. Do not attempt to move the vehicle.
  • Do not admit or discuss liability for an accident with other involved parties.
  • Exchange insurance, registration information, names and addresses of involved parties.
  • Call the local police, help any injured person and seek medical advice if necessary.
  • Call the nearest CARE office, report the incident and request assistance.
  • Await the arrival of the police or, if in an isolated area, seek them out. Provide them with all relevant information about the accident.
  • If the vehicle is immobilised, secure it as best as possible.
  • Obtain a copy of the official police report.
  • Prepare a detailed report in the Vehicle Accident Report Form.
  • Take photographs of the damaged vehicle and the accident site.

The appropriate insurance coordinator in CARE will determine if a claim will be filed. Insurance reports will require:

  • a description of events that cause loss or possible liability damages
  • a description of damages incurred by CARE property or the property of others
  • the names, sex and age of each person who suffered any personal injuries
  • supporting documentation (police report, photographs).