Operations

Protecting Chauffeurs and Drivers in the Field

Posted on February 1, 2011

Chauffeurs face many different elements of danger during every trip. If you compare worker’s compensation premiums with those of your office staff, you will find the rates are much higher. Certainly the job isn’t as dangerous as a mine worker or a firefighter, but it can take a life in a variety of manners. While the statement is drastic, the reality is ever present. The biggest repeated exposure is other drivers that share the road. Drunk drivers have killed many industry chauffeurs in recent memory. There are also inattentive drivers and those with road rage. Add inclement weather to the mix and the danger increases even more. The next area of danger posed is the people we serve. They get drunk sometimes and like to fi ght. They sometimes need to be ejected, causing a confrontation. Both male and female passengers become intoxicated and make physical advances toward chauffeurs in confrontational and sexual manners. Because we operate expensive and somewhat flashy equipment, there is a perception of “money” that makes chauffeurs prone to robberies and carjackings. In a recent carjacking in Los Angeles, a chauffeur was run over with his vehicle and killed while fueling.

PROTECTION FROM PASSENGERS
The nature of our industry exposes chauffeurs to people that frequently engage in drinking alcohol. Chauffeurs must deal with the aftermath. Female chauffeurs are probably more at risk than male counterparts of a sexual assault, but they happen to both genders. An assault could range from groping to rape. Male chauffeurs have reported assaults by a group of ladies wine tasting or finishing a day at a golf tournament. Chauffeurs should be encouraged to call their dispatchers if they feel uncomfortable about passenger behavior so that the trip can be monitored. As “the captain of the ship,” you should always respect calls from chauffeurs in the fi eld and provide the necessary response even if it is inconvenient.

REGULAR CHECK-IN AND CODES
As a safety precaution, chauffeurs and dispatchers should communicate at predetermined times or set intervals depending on the type of run and location. Obviously the more remote the location or higher element of danger, the more frequent check-ins should be. Also establish a code or code word that can be used to quickly communicate by voice or text that there is a problem and help is needed. With GPS technology, most dispatchers can “see” where the car is within a range of 40 feet. The driver’s cell phone also can be used by law enforcement offi cials to pinpoint a location, although not as accurately.

PROTECTION FROM OTHER PARTIES
Chauffeurs must make sure they are aware of their surroundings at all times. For limousine chauffeurs, the vehicles and their passengers project an image of money and importance. Unfortunately, this makes chauffeurs the target of robberies and carjackings. Chauffeurs should never get complacent and just sit in a vehicle. They should observe their surroundings via mirrors and beware of potential threats while always being prepared to greet returning passengers.

PROTECTION ON THE ROAD
The best protection is to offer or encourage chauffeurs to take a defensive driving course. Train chauffeurs to check their mirrors before jumping out of a vehicle to open passenger doors and be aware of traffi c as they load and unload. Constantly expect the unexpected drunk, sleepy, or inattentive driver, and be prepared to react.

DRIVER DANGERS
Vehicle Accidents
Inclement Weather
Carjacking
Robbery
Assault/Attack
Sexual Assault
Being hit by a car
Attack on passenger(s)

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