Reducing Risk: Your Vehicles
Well maintained vehicles will not prevent accidents from happening although you can take some important steps to help reduce the probability.
At the same time you are staying legal whether this is Road Traffic or Health & Safety law not forgetting the essential need for reliability and the good image a well presented vehicle brings to your business.
Included in this section:
To assist in ensuring that vehicles are properly cared for by the user it is suggested that each driver is issued with a company vehicle check list that is required to be completed on a weekly basis.
Where company vehicles are being used by more than one person then every driver should carry out a 'basic' vehicle inspection, covering condition and roadworthiness, prior to their journey.
Companies that have introduced a driver vehicle inspection have found this, coupled with periodic spot checks carried out by a manager/owner/proprietor, has dramatically improved standards of vehicle care and significantly reduced damage costs, improved resale values or cut recharges made by leasing companies.
It has also been demonstrated that drivers that check their vehicle on a regular basis have improved their driving behaviour.
The completed forms can be submitted as part of the rental/lease procedure, acting as a performance indicator and measurement for your drivers. If this becomes a procedure ensure it is followed up.
The responsibility for checking tyres of a vehicles rest with the driver and to comply with the law they should ensure the following:
- All tyres have the required legal minimum tread depth (1.6mm) over the centre three quarters of the tyre;
- Correctly inflated to required tyre pressure by manufacturer's vehicle handbook;
- No cuts greater than 25mm long or 10% of the section width whichever is greater;
- No fabric or cords espoused, bulges or lumps;
- No combination of radial and cross ply tyres fitted to the wheels on the same axle;
- No radial fitted to the front and no cross ply to the rear wheels; and
For each defective tyre a driver will incur a fine of up to £1000 and 3 penalty points on their licence.
Oil and Water Checks
The responsibility for checking oil and water levels rests with the driver(s) of that vehicle. This should be carried out weekly and also after routine services and any unscheduled maintenance work.
The checks should include engine oil levels, coolant levels and windscreen washer bottle levels.
It can cost over £3000 to repair an engine that has burned-out as a result of lack of oil and water.
It is the responsibility of the driver at all times to ensure that the correct fuel for the car is selected.
In the event that the wrong fuel is selected, under no circumstances drive the car away from the fuel station.
Contact your office, control room to arrange for the appropriate breakdown service to attend and arrange recovery.
Therefore reserve the right to charge the driver for the repairs due to a result of the driver's negligence i.e. putting petrol into a diesel engine.
Regular inspection, good maintenance and sensible vehicle management means safety for drivers and passengers, PLUS real savings for your business too.
Follow these guidelines and you will enjoy these savings, gain value for your vehicles and avoid any possible penalties which accompany bad practice.
Set up an inspection regime. This is crucial to the smooth running of your business. A monthly inspection form has been created below for your use.
Driver Participation / Responsibility
Full participation by your drivers is essential for Success. They are close to the vehicles all the time.
Drivers are also legally liable for the condition and road worthiness of their vehicles. Inspection is a basic duty of a driver - so incorporate it into the contract, code of conduct, policy or rental agreement.
Vehicle Defects and Damage
Drivers should report all defects immediately on return to the base or depot. If roadworthiness and safety is affected the driver should stop, park the vehicle as safely as possible and then immediately contact base.
You should never permit or condone the use of a vehicle which is (or likely to become) un-roadworthy.
Drivers must report damage immediately.
All damage must be corrected at the earliest opportunity.
Drivers should ensure vehicles have a tidy interior and clean exterior. This helps the general upkeep and promotes a good company image.
The safety of your drivers is obviously vital and all drivers, mangers, owners, should ensure that due attention is paid to servicing, maintenance and repairs on a timely basis. All work should be carried out by approved service and repair agents and in accordance with manufacturers warranty requirements.
Drivers must not wait for warning lights to come on before checking oil and water levels as this often indicates that damage may have already been done. You should reserve the right to charge the driver(s) with the total cost of the repairs to a vehicle where such repairs are the direct result of driver(s) negligence.
To run a reliable and reputable business it's important to operating to the highest standards of quality control. This is especially prevalent to the Taxi industry due to the inspections by many different outside bodies e.g. Police, VOSA, Licensing Authorities etc.
There can also be checks at weekends or night checks when cars are operating. There are also 6 monthly MOT's.
Through checking and keeping vehicles in good running order it can reduce the risk of breakdown and ensure you are operating more safely.
More specifically there are further benefits:
- controlling costs including wear and tear and fuel;
- reduction in accidents, therefore controlling insurance premiums;
- fewer vehicles off the road for repair;
- reduced running costs through better driving standards;
- fewer missed jobs/opportunities and therefore reduced risk of losing goodwill of your customer base.
To ensure that preventative maintenance is completed in accordance with Company instructions, a management Monitoring system should be introduced.
Your regular garage/workshop should be able to provide you with the appropriate reminders when vehicles are:
- Due for servicing.
- Presented for service in a dirty/unkept condition, or
- Badly maintained
The majority of maintenance companies will be pleased to provide this type of information when requested.