Vehicle safety for businesses is a top priority. Every year, preventable accidents claim lives and cause millions of dollars in damages. By applying tried and tested safety standards to the operation of your vehicles, your organization can reduce the risk of accidents and claims.
Vehicle Safety Standards for Small Businesses
The Department of Transportation has outlined safety standards for pre-trip and post-trip inspections for commercially operated vehicles. These standards help with early identification of mechanical issues so that problems can be repaired quickly and accidents can be minimized.
Pre-trip visual inspections serve two primary purposes:
- Ensure that the vehicle is safe to operate before it is put into service for the day.
- Verify the previous day’s written report of any defects that have been found.
Before operating the vehicle for the day, the driver should be satisfied that the vehicle is in safe operating condition.
Post-trip inspections help document any issues discovered during the day’s vehicle operations. Drivers prepare a written report for each day’s work on every vehicle operated. Reports should note the condition of the following vehicle components:
- Service and parking brake
- Steering mechanism
- Lighting devices
- Tires, wheels and rims
- Windshield, windows and windshield wipers
- Rear and side view mirrors
- Emergency equipment
Post-trip inspection reports should identify the specific vehicle in question and list any defects or deficiencies discovered by the driver or reported to the driver in the day’s work. Any problem or issue that could affect the safe operation of the vehicle or lead to a mechanical breakdown should be noted.
Commercial vehicle operators are required to maintain records of driver vehicle inspection reports, certification of repairs, and certification of driver vehicle reviews on file for at least 90 days after the date of the record.
Vehicle Safety for Small Businesses
While the Department of Transportation may not require vehicle safety inspections to be completed on non-commercial vehicles, adopting the process is highly recommended to reduce the risk of accidents and claims.
Organizations can easily apply the same standards to daily routines.
- Have drivers conduct a pre-trip inspection to ensure the vehicle is safe to operate.
- Require drivers to complete the written post-trip inspection report to document any defects or deficiencies discovered on the road.
- Retain written documentation of inspections, repairs and driver reviews for at least 90 days.
When inspecting organization vehicles, follow these additional tips to ensure safety and minimize risk:
- Perform a complete walk-around of the vehicle and immediately report any damage to the supervisor.
- Make sure all dirt and snow is removed from the vehicle before driving.
- Check license plates and inspection tags are current.
- Ensure that vehicles are properly maintained and in safe working order.
- Check that all seats are fitted with a headrest and seat belt.
- Do not allow employees to perform repairs or maintenance, other than routine fluid additions. All repairs and maintenance of vehicles should be performed by certified automotive technicians.
- Ensure the vehicle is equipped with a manufacturer-recommended spare tire in good condition and the necessary equipment to safely change a wheel.
Regular safety inspections of vehicles are a proven way to improve the safety and reliability of vehicles on the road. Safer vehicles help your business reduce the risk of accidents and claims and prevent unnecessary accidents.