An increasing number of fleet operators are implementing new driver policies or tightening up existing ones in a bid to maintain vehicle condition and reinforce residual values, according to GE Capital's fleet services division. Throughout its own customer base, GE Capital revealed a number of employers are choosing to revisit the basic areas of company car and van schemes, ensuring drivers are primarily responsible for their condition, in an attempt to minimise end-of-contract charges. Gary Killeen, fleet services commercial leader for GE Capital UK, said: "Addressing how drivers maintain vehicle condition is just one of the ways in which cost can be controlled. Fleets are getting much tougher on drivers on a number of areas such as ensuring that vehicles are serviced on time, spare keys are not being lost, kerbed alloys are being repaired and minor scratches and dents are being fixed." With finances increasingly tight, the failure to maintain fleets can sometimes result in hundreds of pounds worth of repair charges per vehicle at the end of contracts, which subsequently knocks off equivalent amounts in terms of residual values. Killeen added: "Historically, many fleets have been fairly relaxed about drivers almost ignoring vehicle condition but this is something that is changing. There is a growing feeling that drivers treating a car or van in a shoddy fashion purely because it is a company vehicle will no longer be tolerated. "What we are seeing is tightening up of driver policy in this area and an increased willingness to recharge drivers for some or all of the amounts that their carelessness is costing the employer. "An important element of this process is of course in the continued education to drivers about the care of their vehicle in order to encourage them to spend time and effort on keeping the vehicle in good condition." Fleets concerned with the condition of their vehicles at the end of their contracts should consider a vehicle remarketing service to enhance residual values. At IT Fleet Automotive our full service fleet appraisal and refurbishment operations provide an efficient, cost-effective service to restore cars and vans to top working order, in readiness for de-fleeting and resale.