Are you proactively managing the defective vehicles you've had to remove from service? Here are some best practices to consider.
Daren Hansen - Sr. DOT Editor - J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.
July 16 , 2021
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Are you proactively managing the defective vehicles you've had to remove from service? It's challenging, especially when the vehicle cannot be repaired quickly. Here are some best practices to consider.
First and foremost, you need to prevent the defective vehicle from being operated on a public roadway.
Keep in mind: A vehicle that is in violation of Part 393 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations cannot be operated in any area defined as a "highway" in 49 CFR §390.5. This includes any location, public or private, that is open to public travel without restrictive gates or signs.
The parts shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has put some motor carriers in a tough spot, having to choose between removing vehicles from service to await repairs or keeping defective vehicles on the road to meet customer and service demands.
Putting a vehicle out of service impacts revenue and capacity, but letting that defective vehicle back on the road can be a DOT violation and significantly increase risk and liability.
Use your vehicle tracking system to maintain the vehicle's known location and note that the vehicle is OOS and unavailable so that it doesn't get used or dispatched.
Once the vehicle is locked down and taken out of rotation, you need to control who can operate it and when.
Maintain timely and accurate documentation about the repair and the vehicle's transition back into active service.
Make sure all affected employees know what you expect when a vehicle is placed OOS. Develop written policies and procedures for dealing with OOS vehicles, with the above recommendations in mind. Then, train all affected employees, so they know what to do.
By maintaining tight controls over your OOS vehicles, keeping good documentation, and training all affected personnel, you'll keep your operations on the road to compliance.
A vehicle maintenance program and recordkeeping are an FMCSA requirement and a best business practice. Encompass® Fleet Management can help you ensure your maintenance program is compliant and on track. Call 855-693-5338 to talk with a compliance specialist or request a conversation.
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