Landscape & Irrigation

March 2017

Landscape and Irrigation is read by decision makers throughout the landscape and irrigation markets — including contractors, landscape architects, professional grounds managers, and irrigation and water mgmt companies and reaches the entire spetrum.

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28 March 2017 Landscape and Irrigation FLEET MANAGEMENT ■ BY MIKE KASTNER Vehicle safety is a primary concern for anyone building, selling, buying or using a work truck. A series of laws and regulations help ensure motor vehicles sold in the U.S. meet specified safety standards. There are numerous reasons why vehicle certification — the process by which companies in the manufacturing chain attest that a vehicle meets the standards set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — is important. TRUCK BUYERS Work truck purchasers may obtain a vehicle in a variety of ways, such as from a dealer or leasing company. In either circumstance, the buyer likely works with the dealer or leasing company to specify body and equipment type needed. As a result of various financing methods, a truck purchaser may or may not be the actual consumer or end user. For example, the end user might be an employee with no financial interest in the vehicle, and the purchaser could be a company that leases to the business using the truck. NHTSA Certification — It's Not Just a Label Implications for work truck purchasers and end users PHOTO ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/KALI9 CERTIFICATION ISSUES If you purchase a completed and certified truck from a dealer's lot, and put it into service without making any modifications to it, you may not have significant certification concerns. This would not be the case if you are involved in spec'ing the truck or performing work on it after receipt. If you, as the purchaser, do any further manufacturing, modification or repairs, there could be considerable certification concerns. To the extent you are involved in the design of your truck by specifying preferred body and equipment, you take some responsibility for the end product. In order to protect yourself, your company and employees, it's important to understand the motor vehicle safety standard certification system and any direct or indirect responsibilities or liabilities you could be accepting. For instance, if a final-stage manufacturer or alterer says the body and equipment you want cannot be properly certified on the chassis specified, work with them to find the right chassis/body/ equipment combination. LEASING COMPANIES It's common for a fleet to lease its trucks through a leasing company, as well as turn over some (or all) maintenance Some work truck owners may believe once a truck is bought and registered, they can do whatever they wish without regard to certification. The responsibilities of a company working on a vocational truck do not necessarily end when the last certification label is affixed.

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