We are back! And we are stoked to talk a bit about a portion of vehicle inspections that we tend to get a lot of questions on.
When do I need the P (Passenger) Endorsement on my CDL? It’s required when the vehicle is designed to transport 16 passengers or more including the driver.
When do I need the S (School bus) Endorsement on my CDL? It’s required when the vehicle is designed to transport 16 passengers or more including the driver AND you are transporting kids to or from a school-sponsored event.
There are a TON of special characteristics for passenger vehicles. That needs to be checked to be roadworthy before we hit the highway!
When we complete a pre-trip inspection on a passenger vehicle one thing that I look for right off the bat is the emergency exits.
There should be at least 4 and they should be clearly marked “emergency exit”.
Also, the path to them should be clear so that they could be used in an emergency if needed. We would suggest checking the lighting of the seating area and ensuring it is clear and indicating where every seat in the vehicle is, and subsequently, the seatbelts!
When looking at the seat belts intended for passenger use, ensure they are mounted and secured properly and do not have any tears or abrasions and that they are in good working order.
Typically, these vehicles come equipped with a step system at the main point of entry for the passengers to reach their seats.
These steps need to be properly lit so that everyone can get in and out of the vehicle safely without miscalculating their footing and suffering an injury while trying to load into the vehicle.
Additionally, these steps typically have some sort of sandpaper type of tape on the edges for better grip and are marked clearly with a color indicator tape- usually a yellow and black tape or a red and white tape.
As we do with all other aspects of the lighting inspection, ensure these lenses are mounted and secured properly, and that there are no chips, cracks, or breaks visible on the lensing.
Now, this may be common sense, but as a standard, when these vehicles are equipped with a step system they are also equipped with a handrail for that step system.
These handrails should be clearly accessible and illuminated for your passengers to grab and hold onto while loading and unloading from the vehicle.
As you can probably imagine, these vehicles are most commonly used and utilized by tourists visiting a destination for a short amount of time. Taxi’s, tour buses, limousines, etc. – are all passenger vehicles.
You hop off the plane, wait patiently for your belongings at baggage claim, and head out to board the tour bus that is taking you a couple of hours away on the highway to visit your long-lost relative. You have tons of bags with you, full of your personal belongings, and then a bag of gifts and souvenirs to give out.
Where in the heck are you going to store this luggage? If only there was a designated area where your luggage could travel with you without infringing on the safety of yourself or those traveling with you.
Oh, wait! The luggage rack!
Yes, passenger vehicles almost always come equipped with a luggage rack. On the airplane, you get an overhead luggage rack and even an area for checked baggage below the deck where passengers sit on the flight.
If you think about it, even the school bus your kids take to school every day has a mounted luggage rack about both rows of seats.
Ensure the luggage racks are mounted and secured properly so that they won’t come loose or dislodged during travel and cause harm to a passenger.
Okay so we have covered almost everything unique to passenger vehicles but there’s one thing we do not want to leave out.
And speaking of not leaving things out, it has been determined by the federal government that passenger vehicles should be non-discriminatory.
And by that, we mean they should be accessible to any and all persons who wish to use them and can meet the financial requirements of doing so.
As we all know, every single human being has different advantages and disadvantages when it comes to everyday life. And because of this, we ensure our vehicles are capable of providing a ride to everyone.
To do this, the bright minds engineering our vehicles today are equipping passenger intended vehicles with ‘lifts’.
These don’t lift kits like the kids in high school install on their 2005 Dodge pick-ups.
These lifts are supposed to aid in assisting someone who is confined to a wheelchair, or otherwise unable to climb the steps, in getting into the vehicle.
These lifts need to be mounted and secured properly.
It may also be a bright idea to test the lift prior to departure for your trip. You wouldn’t want to arrive at a destination to pick up a customer/ passenger and find out your lift is faulty and therefore unable to accommodate your passenger.
Fun Facts about Lifts
Commercial vehicles that transport passengers fall under the umbrella of ADA regulations and requirements.
The transportation company must abide by and meet all ADA regulations for the public.
There are tons of rules, guidelines, regulations, etc. that are all included under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and their accessibility specifications for transportation vehicles.
If you have anything you think might be “out of code” or against the ADA guidelines for transportation, please visit https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/civil-rights-ada/ada-regulations for more in-depth information.
It is a federal regulation that these lifts are able to lift a minimum load of 600 lbs. and fit a wheelchair that is 30 inches by 48 inches.
This set of guidelines and regulations states that your lift must be in good working order and of no danger to the public when being operated or transported.
If your lift is in less than good shape, it needs to be repaired promptly.
Not abiding by ADA guidelines and regulations can lead to far more than a fine. It is always in your best interest to follow these guidelines and avoid the headache that comes with all the red tape of an infraction of these regulations.
For more information or any questions you have on passenger vehicle requirements, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!