The vehicle operator is responsible for checking the safety and general condition of the vehicle, including gas, oil, and other fluid levels, lights, and brakes.
With the assistance of the Safety Manager, supervisors should provide inspection checklist to vehicle operators. To formally document that training has been accomplished and drivers understand their responsibilities, they should sign an acknowledgement form that looks something like the form below.
Sample Vehicle Maintenance Acknowledgement Form
I have received the proper training in daily vehicle inspection procedures. I understand that it is my responsibility to inspect all fluid levels, lights, tires, and safety equipment each day before I use the vehicle. I understand that it is my responsibility to report any and all vehicle defects and safety concerns. If there is something wrong with the vehicle, which may affect safety, I will not drive the vehicle until adequate repairs are completed. I also understand that it is my responsibility observe all policies and procedures concerning the proper and safe operation of a company vehicle.
Driver Name (Print)
Unauthorized Use of Vehicles
Make sure your company vehicles are to be used for company business only. Persons found using company vehicles for their personal errands should be subject to disciplinary action unless your company's policy allows short side trips for meals, etc.
Operation and Occupancy of Company Vehicle by Unauthorized Persons
Employees should not permit unauthorized employees or non-employees to ride in company vehicles, except when such persons are conveyed in the performance of duty, or authorized to ride by supervisory staff.
Employees should not operate a vehicle or equipment:
- for any purpose for which it was not designed,
- beyond its designed limits,
- in areas or locations for which it was not designed, or;
- in a manner that may cause damage through neglect, misuse, improper driving techniques, or improper handling.
Transporting Employees in Vehicles
Policies for transporting employees should be well thought-out.
- No more than three employees should ride in the front seat or cab of a vehicle.
- Each position should be equipped with a seat belt.
- Each person should use the seat belt provided.
- Employees should not be authorized to ride or work from the bed or rear of a vehicle while it is in motion.
Sarah's Story - Ohio Public Safety
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distraction is anything that diverts the driver's attention from the primary tasks of navigating the vehicle and responding to critical events. Driver safety is impaired whenever these three types of distraction occur while driving:
- Visual distraction - takes your eyes off the road. Examples include: looking at dashboard, reading a map, or looking for address.
- Cognitive distraction - takes your mind off the road. Examples include: day dreaming, drowsiness, cell phone use, or moving animals.
- Manual distraction - takes your hands off the wheel. Examples include: eating, drinking, smoking, or changing radio station.
So when you think about tasks that can be a driving distraction, you can see that they often fit into more than one category: eating is visual and manual, whereas using a navigation system is all three.
There are two basic components of the distraction safety problem:
- the attentional demands of the distracting task, and
- the frequency with which drivers choose to multitask.
Task demands relate to the amount of resources (visual, cognitive, manual) required to perform the task. The other issue is exposure, which is how often drivers engage in the task. Putting those two concepts together, even an easy task can be a bigger safety problem if the person does the task 50% of their driving time.
You can use this NHTSA sample company Distracted Driving Policy to develop a policy for your company.
Employees using company vehicles should exercise caution when transporting equipment, packages or other materials in the driver/passenger compartment that would become flying projectiles
in the event of an accident.
- Items such as briefcases, laptop computers, tools, etc. should be transported in the trunk of passenger vehicles.
- Pickups, whether standard cab or extended, should have secured storage capabilities in the bed of the vehicle such as tool storage or camper shells if they are used with any regularity in the
transport of items that could injure the driver or passenger(s) in the event of an accident.
- Vans used in the regular transport of such items should have screen type barriers between such cargo and the driver/passenger compartment.
- It is always important to keep the driver/passenger as free as possible of objects that could distract their attention or could cause unexpected movement.
While driving commercial vehicles, drivers represent the company. Consequently, it's vitally important that drivers operate their vehicles in a courteous and professional manner.
- Drivers should adhere to all traffic laws and regulations when operating company vehicles.
- Drivers should at all times operate company vehicles in such a manner as to avoid injury to persons or damage to property.
It's important that employees park company vehicles in a legal and proper manner.
- Employees should remove the keys and lock the vehicles, except when specifically instructed otherwise.
- Employees should not park on the wrong side of a street or highway, unless it is mandatory to park in such a location to perform a job.
- All signs, cones, lights, and warning devices as required by law should be used when vehicles are parked or in use in a public travel lane.
- Employees should use all safety brakes, lockout devices, and other parking safety methods when parking equipment.
Use of Personal Vehicles for Business
Supervisors should identify and authorize those employees who are required, as part of their normal job duties to use their personal vehicle to conduct company business.
If employees use their personal vehicles for business use, be certain they have sufficient liability coverage with their personal auto policies. For example, if an employee drives his or her own car to deliver an order for the business and is in an accident with another driver, his or her insurance company will pay the claim up to her policy limit.
But if the other driver sues the company for additional damages, a basic business owner´s policy (BOP) won´t suffice. Commercial vehicle insurance with an added non-owned auto liability endorsement could help protect the company´s assets from an expensive lawsuit.