How to write a safety checklist for your drivers

February 11, 2021

Your drivers are on the road every day with incredibly valuable cargo on board: your customers. The last thing you want to do is have a driver on the road in a vehicle that’s not in the very best possible condition. On top of that, Federal Law requires transporters to conduct daily inspections to ensure overall safety. While there are the more obvious items to check off the list; is there gas, any flat tires, etc., what should really be on your safety checklist? 

As an NEMT or Paratransit provider you’ll want to have 2 sections of your checklist. One section for the overall vehicle which will include the operational side of things including the engine and tires and so on. Your second section will include the more client facing side of things including seat belts, wheelchair straps and more. As a transporter, you’ll need to decide who will be conducting which part of the list. For example, will your drivers be responsible for the entire list or just the client facing side of things? Do you have a mechanic on staff who can take care of the operational side of things? 

Section One: 

  • Engine oil: while of course the check engine light will come on when you need to tend to the oil, you don’ want that light coming on mid-route. Making sure this is checked daily before the vehicle is put on the road will save you the headache of dealing with a check engine light during business hours. 
  • Air pressure of tires: Check all the tires visually before beginning a route. While you’re visually checking these make sure you’re checking for any signs of damage or puncture. This is also a good time to take note of the tire’s tread incase new tires will be needed. 
  • Lights: Especially since you work with people, you need to make sure all your lights are working properly: headlights, taillights, break lights, blinkers, and your hazards or flashers. If you have any additional lights for safety, ensure those are working as well. If you live in an area that gets snow, make sure that any snow has been removed from your lights before taking off. 
  • Horn:  This one can seem a bit odd but it’s important that your horn works properly. A good way to test it every day may be to ask your drivers to honk the horn twice before reversing. 
  • Windshield & wipers:  Especially if you operate in a place that gets cold and snowy in the winter, make sure there is enough windshield wiper fluid in your vehicle and make sure the wipers are not frozen to the windshield. If they are, gently remove them before getting on the road to avoid any wiper blades being torn off the wipers. 
  • Vehicle documents & license plate:  Always double check that all your required documentation is safely stored in the vehicle. Again, if you live in a snowy area make sure any snow is removed from your license plates. 
  • Leaks: You should be able to see any leaks around the vehicle but be sure to take a good look underneath before you write this one off. 

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the battery, transmission, steering, engine belts and hoses, and brakes are all being checked.  

Section Two: 

  • Wheelchair ramp: If your vehicle has a motorized wheelchair ramp, you’ll want to test every aspect of that device before you get on the road. Ensure the battery or power source is working properly, the hinges are lubricated, the ramp itself is clean and clear of debris, etc. 
  • Wheelchair straps & seatbelts: Ensure all wheelchair tie down straps as well as any traditional seat belts are functioning correctly and do not show any signs of wear that could impede their ability to keep passengers safe. 
  • Clean & disinfect:  Always, and especially now during a pandemic, make sure your vehicle has been completely cleaned of any trash or debris. You’ll also want to disinfect all hard and soft surfaces before loading any passengers on board. 
  • Climate controls: Regardless of the current weather, you’ll want to make sure the climate control systems are working. Keeping your passengers warm or cool enough is important in providing them the best care possible. 

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you always have an up-to-date emergency kit with you. This will include a seat belt cutter, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, extra surgical masks, hand sanitizer, and more.  

Making sure your company has a very clear daily safety checklist is of the utmost importance. Keeping your vehicles, drivers, and customers safe will ensure your company can operate for a long time to come. Using any software solution can help keep your company safe. RoutingBox, however, makes it incredibly easy to require your drivers to complete a safety checklist ahead of beginning their trips. Not only that, but any issues they make note of will be stored in your system making record keeping easy and seamless. Whichever way you decide to keep track of your safety checklists, it is very important that you do.

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