Vehicle safety and operator care

  • Published
  • By David Ritchson
  • 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron
In March 2006, an Edwards AFB Airman died tragically in a government vehicle accident. 

The formal accident investigation revealed the vehicle was being operated with both undocumented and unreported safety defects. Further, it was determined the Airman involved and her chain of command were aware of the defects, but failed to make vehicle maintenance a priority. 

These findings drove Air Force Materiel Command to issue Special Interest Item (SII) 06-F in September 2006, ensuring the vehicle fleet is safe and serviceable. The purpose of this two-year SII is to ensure commanders have appointed unit vehicle control officers (VCOs) and/or vehicle control noncommissioned officers.  It also ensures that VCOs/VCNCOs are formally trained on their duties and responsibilities and that vehicle operators perform daily/weekly inspections, document the results of those inspections and promptly report discrepancies to vehicle management for repair.

During the AFMC Operational Readiness Inspection in November 2006, Team Eglin received an Unsatisfactory rating on SII 06-F compliance. Findings indicated vehicle operators were not properly inspecting vehicles prior to use and were not reporting vehicles to maintenance in a timely manner when discrepancies were identified. 

The AFMC IG team will be returning to Eglin Nov. 1-9, to perform a Logistics Standardization Evaluation Program (LSEP) evaluation. During this evaluation, IG members will again focus their attention on Team Eglin's ability to ensure a safe and serviceable vehicle fleet. As such, it is imperative that commanders, supervisors, VCOs/VCNCOs and vehicle operators make a concerted effort to ensure compliance with SII06-F.

The requirements are quite simple. All government-furnished vehicles must be inspected daily and the results documented on the AF Form 1800, Operator's Inspection Guide and Trouble Report. Even if a vehicle is not used, it must be inspected at least once every seven days. Items to be checked such as fluid levels, lights, tires, wipers, and safety devices are listed on the AF Form 1800. Vehicle operators are required to perform daily and/or weekly inspections and then document any discrepancies on the AF Form 1800. Operators MUST report safety discrepancies within 24 hours to the 96 LRS Vehicle Management Flight. 

Some examples of safety discrepancies are: excessively worn tires, brake defects, steering mechanism problems, defects on operating levers controlling power transmission, hoisting, dumping, and tripping devices, inoperative warning lights, turn signals, brakes lights, emergency and rotating flashers, headlights, reflectors, clearance lights and backup lights, inoperative windshield wipers or defrosters and incorrect fluid levels. All other defects (non-safety items) must also be documented and the vehicle brought to Vehicle Management within 72 hours.

Every unit with vehicles assigned has a trained and qualified VCO/VCNCO who can provide guidance and training on AF Form 1800 documentation requirements and proper vehicle inspection techniques. As a vehicle operator,contact your VCO/VCNCO if you are unsure. Additionally, the 96 LRS/LGRV Vehicle Management Flight will provide customer service to any unit upon request. The Vehicle Management Flight stands ready to assist your organization. Please contact Vehicle Management and Analysis at 882-4511/4519 for assistance.