When purchasing federal and/or state funded vehicles from the state contract, agencies are required to maintain these vehicles so that they remain safe for the public to utilize. Florida Statutes dictate that each agency adhere to maintenance requirements set forth to uphold a high standard of maintenance practices for these vehicles. Some of these practices are described below.
Pre-Trip Inspections. According to Florida Statute Chapter 14-90, each vehicle must undergo daily pre-trip inspections. Each pre-trip inspection must be performed by the drivers operating the vehicles before these vehicles enter into service. Each completed inspection should be reviewed daily by a designated agency employee and each deficiency noted must show acknowledgement and/or a documented corrective action taken by the agency.
The pre-trip inspection checklist should cover each vehicle device:
- Service brakes
- Parking brakes
- Tires and wheels
- Lighting devices
- Windshield wipers
- Rear vision mirrors
- Passenger doors
- Exhaust System
- Equipment for transporting wheelchairs
- Safety, security, and emergency equipment
The drivers performing these pre-trip inspections must be appropriately trained on how to locate and determine defects related to the vehicle devices listed above. If you feel the drivers at your agency would benefit from brief refresher training in this area, please contact us to provide this free training for your drivers on-site at your agency.
After each inspection is completed the appointed agency employee reviewing the inspection must determine whether or not the deficiencies reported are a hazard to public safety. If so, the vehicle should be removed from service until the deficiency has been corrected. If the deficiency is determined not to pose a risk to public safety it may be repaired at a later date. However, the deficiency should be corrected within a reasonable time frame of when it was first noted. The following is a list of safety sensitive items determined by FDOT:
- Steering System
- Service and Parking Brake
- Suspension and Undercarriage
- Tires, Wheels, and Wheel End Components
- Fuel and Exhaust Systems
- All Lights, Mirrors, Wipers and Warning Devices
- Interlock Systems
- Interior Controls, Gauges and Safety Equipment
- Wheelchair Lifts
- Air System
- Emergency Exits (doors, windows, etc.)
For an example of a Pre-trip Inspection
ABC Inspections. In addition to daily pre-trip inspections, Chapter 14-90 states that preventive maintenance must be performed on state vehicles. The Florida Department of Transportation has issued a Preventive Maintenance Standards Manual that demonstrates step by step instructions on how a vehicle should be inspected. To download a copy of this handbook, click here.
The preventive maintenance inspections should be scheduled as progressive “A,” “B,” and “C” inspections using a pre-determined target mileage that should not exceed 6,000 miles. FDOT requires these inspections be performed in the following sequence: A, B, A, C. According to the Florida Transit Administration, for a preventative maintenance inspection to be considered on-time it must be performed within 10% of the target mileage. For example, for a target mileage of 6,000 miles the preventative maintenance inspections must be performed within 6,600 miles. Each vehicle should be taken out of service until the inspection is complete and all safety-related defects have been repaired, as necessary. These inspections will be performed by an experienced mechanic who is knowledgeable in the types of vehicles used by your agency and the FDOT regulations regarding how they are maintained. To download a copy of a standard ABC Inspection Form.
Chapter 14-90 also states that an annual safety inspection will be required for each fleet vehicle. If a “C” inspection has already been performed on a vehicle during the year, that inspection sheet may be used to substitute an annual safety inspection. Annual safety inspections should be filed separately from the general vehicle history files. If using a “C” inspection as an annual inspection, a copy of the inspection sheet should be included in both the vehicle history file and the annual safety inspection file and should be labeled as an Annual Inspection. Annual Inspection form
Wheelchair Lift Inspections. Each agency should perform a complete cycle of the wheelchair lift during their daily pre-trip inspection. During this time, the operator should report any failure of a lift to operate. According to Federal Regulation,
When a lift is discovered to be inoperative, the agency shall take the vehicle out of service before the beginning of the vehicle’s next service day and ensure that the lift is repaired before the vehicle returns to service.
If there is no spare vehicle available to take the place of the inoperable lift vehicle, such that taking the vehicle out of service will reduce the transportation service the entity is able to provide, the public entity may keep the vehicle in service with an inoperable lift for no more than five days (if the entity serves an area of 50,000 or less population) or three days (if the entity serves an area of over 50,000 population) from the day on which the lift is discovered to be inoperative.
In any case in which a vehicle is operating on a fixed route with an inoperative lift, and the headway to the next accessible vehicle on the route exceeds 30 minutes, the entity shall promptly provide alternative transportation to individuals with disabilities who are unable to use the vehicle because its lift does not work.