If you have to drive to a jobsite, the best way to start a safe day’s work is to make sure your vehicle is in good condition and has the proper equipment and storage.
For this reason, a review of field vehicles is an important part of a safety audit for surveying firms.
The review generally starts with questions about the vehicle itself. Who is responsible for repairs? What about normal maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations? All drivers should be required to complete at least a minimal routine vehicular safety evaluation. Simple checks of liquid levels, steering, brakes (driving and parking), tire inflation, seatbelts, horn, etc. can be performed in just a few minutes. If an item is found to be defective, then the driver must make a determination of whether it is critical to the safe operation of the vehicle. If a vehicle isn’t safe to drive, then don’t drive it!
There should also be a system in place to make use of the information that is collected during routine inspections. I recall one company that required drivers to compile reports daily and send them to the office each week. For over a year and a half, the driver had been marking that there was a major crack in the windshield, yet the person at the company who schedules maintenance didn’t think the crack was important enough to bring the truck in off the road and didn’t want to spend the money. If the drivers are required to complete a list, someone else should be required to follow up to make certain the required repairs are done by a competent mechanic.
The cleanliness of the passenger compartment can also directly relate to safety. One of my clients related an incident in which a soda bottle wedged up between the brake pedal and the floorboard while an employee was braking to a fast stop. Fortunately, the driver was able to let up on the brake for a second so that the bottle could shift and then resume braking, thereby avoiding a crash. Another driver recounted an incident where a candy wrapper stuck to his foot and caused it to slip off the brake pedal. He also avoided a crash, but it was very close. It would be far better to avoid these situations altogether by keeping vehicle interiors clean and litter-free.