How To Keep A Chauffeur From Being Locked Out

Jim Luff
Posted on August 25, 2015

We've all done it: The split second the door closes and you realize the keys are inside the vehicle. If you are not prepared for it, it can be a disaster.

About 20 years ago, a chauffeur called me from LAX to advise he had locked the keys inside the limousine. His clients would arrive in about 20 minutes. Obviously, this was a huge problem. I had to call a roadside service to respond. The chauffeur either needed to wait with the limo for the roadside service or wait in baggage claim for the client. We chose the latter, and the clients, chauffeur and mechanic all gathered in the parking garage while the door was unlocked.

That day I decided we would put a hide-a-key on every single vehicle we owned so if we had a quick remedy if it happened again. However, the location of the hide-a-key is not any place you would ever be able to see. You would only know to look here if you had been trained to do so. I'm talking about rolling up your sleeves, getting down on your knees or even back and sliding under the car. I don't want bad guys seeing the key so it must be that way.

The next key incident occurred when a male and female passenger argued in the back of a limousine while parked outside a bar. The couple asked the chauffeur to step out. Back in the day, you could lock up the whole car from the back of a DaBryan limo. The couple must have fought just so they could make up and by making up, I mean making out. They locked the doors from the inside and the chauffeur was locked out of his own vehicle for more than an hour.

On that day, I decided to have a third key made for every single vehicle. When a chauffeur checks out a vehicle, they get one key for the ignition and one key for a pocket. This concept has many advantages. On a hot or cold day, the chauffeur can leave the engine running and lock the doors to the vehicle while fetching the clients. Even if the key fob battery was to die, the key in the chauffeur's pocket works best. Buses can be left running with the doors securely locked while the chauffeur uses the restroom or goes inside a fast-food restaurant.

Related Topics: customer service, driver behavior, driver safety, emergency preparedness, fleet management, Jim Luff, operations, Shop Talk blog, vehicle maintenance, vehicle security

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
Comments ( 14 )
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  • ForHireVehicles

     | about 3 years ago

    First thing a Chauffeur should do is separate the remote from the key, (and return it upon completed of job) when ever possible. If you can't, open the drivers window 1/2 way and unlock all locks, open drivers door, then lock the drivers door only and close door. Upon finished letting people in or out stick hand in drivers window and OPEN DRIVERS DOOR.

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