Fleets Awarded for Cutting Lead from Operations

Several government fleets were among 41 recipients recently recognized by the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities for their efforts in reducing and/or recycling hazardous chemicals in their organization.

The City of Oxnard, Calif.; the City of Reno, Nev.; and Cobb County (Ga.) Fleet Management have successfully curtailed the use of lead in their fleet operations.

City of Oxnard. The City of Oxnard eliminated the use of lead wheel weights in favor of steel weights, at a rate of approximately 260 lbs. of replacement lead weights annually. Additionally, the City has eliminated pollution from its vehicle fleet caused by lead weights falling off vehicles while in use, which would add lead to the road and highway environment.

City of Reno. The City of Reno eliminated 400 lbs. of lead wheel weights from the public works fleet by the end of January 2009. Steel weight costs are about 50 percent more, but since labor comprises 90 percent of the wheel-balancing expense, the increase is minimal, according to the City. As the steel weights become more readily available, the overall cost is expected to drop. At the same time, health care issues related to lead exposure to employees and the environment will be greatly improved.

Cobb County Fleet Management. Cobb County Fleet Management successfully met its challenge to convert and recycle 2,500 lbs. of lead wheel weights, eliminating a potential toxic pollutant from posing a risk to human health and the environment. The process of changing from lead to steel for the entire Cobb County fleet occurred over a nine-month period.

City of Columbus, Ohio, Makes Safety a Top Priority

All City of Columbus, Ohio, safety-related vehicles are quality-inspected by a different supervisor after the repair is done. Fleet Management also moved to a new facility and was able to consolidate the parts operation and move to a 24/7 configuration for safety vehicles, both measures better supporting the City's police and fire customers and reduce the amount of reworks, according to Kelly Reagan, fleet management administrator for City of Columbus.

Bumper Stickers Help Boost Kentucky's Driver Safety

The State of Kentucky Division of Fleet Management implemented a "How's My Driving?" program in September 2008. Bumper stickers were placed on every Fleet Management vehicle with a phone number to call. Fleet Management dedicated one staff member to process all phone calls. In conjunction with other existing programs, after the completion of the first year of the program, Fleet Management saw a 34-percent reduction in at-fault accidents and a 27-percent reduction in the frequency of at-fault accidents. This led to a savings in excess of $150,000 in the first year. In the first four months of the second year of the program, at-fault accidents dropped 14 percent compared to the same timeframe of the first year, according to Forrest Banta, director of the division.

Broward Sheriff's Office Prepared for the Worst

Broward (County, Fla.) Sheriff's Office fleet is prepared to handle the worst. Fleet maintains an Emergency Action Policy that includes a sufficient supply of tires to cover all vehicles in the fleet in case of a natural disaster, according to Michael Best, general manager of Broward Sheriff's Office First Vehicle Services.

The Sheriff's Office also recognized a need to be self-sufficient and maintains its own fuel hauling capability for emergencies. Fleet also utilized Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants to construct a mobile repair trailer for use as a command center in the event of a natural disaster.