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In of my business trips to USA, I was directed to use one of the company cars. The car seemed to have a severe brake issues and not having an oil changed for a year and a half after the deadline. I was warned to be careful and leave a distance from the cars ahead but it was scary when I had to decide to turn abruptly.

If am asked to drive a car in a similar situation, how I can politely say that there is a severe safety concern and they need either to fix it or rent me a car?

Because of the crisis in the company, the local employees many times try to fix up things by themselves. Should that fix be requested to be handled by licensed persons and only?

Note: the cars are pretty old (manufactured in 1991)

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Oct 2 '18 at 1:39
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If am asked to drive a car in a similar situation, how I can politely say that there is a severe safety concern and they need either to fix it or rent me a car?

Say no.

In this case, I would simply say no, and either take an uber or rent a car -- period. My safety is worth more than any job.

A vehicle that is not functioning properly (mechanically) is a danger to yourself and to your fellow drivers. You could say something along the lines of "My apologies, but this vehicle does not appear mechanically sound/safe. Perhaps there is another vehicle available, or I will take alternative transportation."

Another point I would like to make is since it is a company car, the company itself will be liable should there be an incident.

Short answer: Driving a poorly maintained, mechanically unsound car is not wise for you or the company.

  • 2
    @pmf The company is liable for keeping the car in safe working condition, at least here in the US. – Mister Positive Oct 1 '18 at 12:04
  • Thank you for the answers. So an email request is important to keep the complaint/request written so I render them legally responsible. Probably mention the 49 CFR 393 compliance requirement. Uber is not an option as it is a rural area in USA not having such service. I believe what they are afraid is that car is in pretty bad condition that an independent mechanic would tell them an extreme cost to fix it. – Ge Peace Oct 1 '18 at 12:19
  • As was said, legally responsible is irrelevant. You are the driver. YOU may be harmed. If you die, how legally responsible will YOU hold the company then? – TomTom Oct 1 '18 at 12:30
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    "an independent mechanic would tell them an extreme cost to fix it." The cost of running through a school bus stop because the brakes failed would be more extreme. – Mike Harris Oct 1 '18 at 13:57
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Afraid I'm going to take the harsh approach here.

If am asked to drive a car in a similar situation, how I can politely say that there is a severe safety concern and they need either to fix it or rent me a car?

Screw being polite. I'd hit the roof if I was told to drive a knowingly unsafe vehicle, and simply refuse, something to the effect of:

There's no way I'm going to set foot in this vehicle, let alone drive it, and I'm frankly appalled that you'd put both my life and the lives of other road users at risk by suggesting as such.

You then suggest that you're going to take a cab / rent a mechanically sound car / whatever else may be appropriate, and claim that back on expenses.

Longer term, quite honestly I'd take a serious look at whether you wanted to remain at a company that's prepared to knowingly endanger lives in this way for the sake of budget cuts. I cannot emphasise enough how terrible a request this is.

(As an aside: I'm reacting so strongly here because this is a massive safety issue. If it was a case of "the AC doesn't work", or "it's got a big dent in it", but the car was otherwise fine, then obviously that's a completely different matter.)

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Your car must be capable of doing an emergency brake at any time. There are dangers that you can mitigate by driving carefully, others you can’t. If you knowingly drive a car with brakes in a bad condition, you are legally responsible.

A child might step into the road five meters in front of your car. Good brakes = bad injury, bad brakes = dead. No way you can take this risk.

Refuse in the strongest possible way. There is absolutely no need for politeness, quite the opposite.

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