It is important to ensure that the vehicles you select for a specific function are adequate in design and capability for the intended purpose.
It is the responsibility of each driver to select the appropriate vehicle to be used in performing their tasks. Make sure your employees keep all vehicles well maintained and in safe and efficient operating condition at all times.
For the latest information on crash test ratings and other important vehicle safety information, visit www.safercar.gov. To report a concern about a defect or problem with your vehicle, contact the NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline at: 1-888-DASH-2-DOT.
Where practical, consider adopting a "one driver, one vehicle"; strategy. Assignment to a single vehicle instills a sense of responsibility and ownership. Also, a worker who operates the same vehicle each day may more easily identify potential mechanical problems with that vehicle.
It is vitally important that you implement a comprehensive vehicle maintenance program. Your fleet maintenance program should include:
Federal motor carrier regulations under 49 CFR 396 contain a list of commercial motor vehicle systems and parts that must be inspected.
A good preventive maintenance program lowers repair frequency and lowers overall maintenance cost. The service portion of Preventive Maintenance is actually scheduled maintenance.
Prior to requiring or permitting a driver to operate a vehicle, the employer must repair any defect or deficiency listed on the driver vehicle inspection report which would be likely to affect the safety of operation of the vehicle.
The employer should certify on the original driver vehicle inspection report that the identified defect or deficiency has been repaired or that repair is unnecessary before the vehicle is operated again.
The employer must maintain the original driver vehicle inspection report, the certification of repairs, and the certification of the driver's review for three months from the date the written report was prepared.
You should require drivers to report on the condition of the vehicles they operate. Each driver should prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day's work on each vehicle operated. The report should cover at least the following parts and accessories:
Each report should identify the vehicle and list any defect or deficiency discovered by or reported to the driver which would affect the safety of operation of the vehicle or result in its mechanical breakdown.
If no defect or deficiency is discovered, the report should so indicate. The driver should sign the report. On two-driver operations, only one driver needs to sign the driver vehicle inspection report, provided both drivers agree as to the defects or deficiencies identified. If a driver operates more than one vehicle during the day, a report should be prepared for each vehicle operated.
Once on the road, the driver should examine any cargo and its load securing devices and make any necessary adjustments.
If a problem is found, the driver should notify his/her supervisor and either have the necessary repairs or adjustments made prior to operating the vehicle, or safely travel to the nearest repair facility.
In the most effective Fleet Safety Programs, the company is committed to following a strong daily inspection program. All vehicles are inspected every day they are operated.
Each driver should be satisfied that his/her assigned vehicle is in proper working condition prior to operating. Each driver should also be satisfied that any cargo is properly distributed and secured.
The driver should also review the last completed Driver's Vehicle Inspection Report to verify that any needed repairs were made to the vehicle. If the defects noted were not acknowledged by an authorized signature, the driver should not drive the vehicle until the defects are handled appropriately.
When a driver reports safety related problems or vehicle damage, the vehicle inspection report should be submitted to his/her Supervisor. The Supervisor should sign the report indicating that repairs have been made (or are not required to be made). The original inspection report and certification of repairs should be retained in the Vehicle Maintenance File.
The original inspection reports on which no defects were noted and on which defects were noted, and the certification of repairs, will be retained in the Vehicle Maintenance File.
The employer should keep a complete record on each vehicle in the fleet. It should include basic vehicle information and information indicating the nature and due date of any inspection and maintenance operations to be performed on the vehicle, and a record of any inspections, repairs and maintenance performed on the vehicle in question, including dates performed and specifics on the nature of the operations.
Make sure you maintain the following information for every vehicle you have for 30 days or more:
Driver's responsibilities when a breakdown happens include:
Supervisor responsibilities when a breakdown occurs include: