It’s useful to be able to immobilise a company vehicle (or your own vehicle) if it’s been stolen as it can prevent the total loss of the vehicle, e.g. if it’s taken overseas or stripped for parts, and it may even be able to help recover any goods or equipment being carried. Many stolen vehicles are used in other crimes such as burglaries and ram-raids, so it can help prevent this, too. To purchase and install an immobiliser is relatively inexpensive and the GPS is reliable at being able to track a location.
This technology is used in some countries when money is loaned on cars to high-risk individuals. The same technology can be used for company vehicles. However, it must be used sensibly. In 2017 a woman legitimately driving a company vehicle had it stopped by her boss for no apparent reason. This can create a dangerous situation where the driver may have been halfway across a junction with traffic bearing down on her or may have been on a motorway driving at speed; when the engine cut out, all power would have been lost to the brakes and steering which would have created a dangerous situation.
Health and safety legislation means that employers must ensure the safety of their workers and contractors. Obviously, taking an action such as remotely stopping the vehicle’s engine while it is moving would result in large fines and possibly prison time for the person responsible should an injury or fatality happen.
Guidelines for installing and using immobilisers in company vehicles
- All vehicles should have an immobiliser (modern vehicles come with one as standard)
- Install a GPS immobiliser system that prevents the vehicle from being restarted. If it’s stolen, the thieves will get further, but you don’t risk causing an accident that could injure an innocent bystander
- If choosing an immobiliser which can cut engine power, only use this under the direction of police.
- Train your staff so they know when and how to use the immobiliser
- Ensure that you have a booking system if the vehicle is a pool vehicle (i.e. one that is driven by a large number of people) – this way, you’ll always know, and will be able to check, who is driving the vehicle.