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Chauffeur facts for kids

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Japanese chauffeur
A chauffeur in Japan

A chauffeur is a person who drives a vehicle (car) as their job. The word can be used for anybody who drives as their job. Usually, it implies a driver of an elegant passenger vehicle (for example, a horse-drawn carriage, luxury sedan, motor coach, or especially a limousine). People who drive taxis, buses or non-passenger vehicles are generally referred to as "drivers" (as in bus drivers and truck drivers).

The word chauffeur is derived from French, literally: stoker, from chauffer to heat. A chauffeur is employed to drive a passenger motor vehicle, especially a luxury vehicles such as a large sedan or limousine.

The legal requirements to be a chauffeur vary depending on the local jurisdiction and class of vehicle. In some cases, a simple permit is all that is required, but in others an additional professional license is needed with certain minimum standards in areas such as: age, health, driving experience, criminal record, local geographic knowledge, training attended.

History of chauffeurs

The first chauffeurs were people employed to tend a steam engine and keep it handling. The literal meaning of the chauffeur in French noun is the "one that heat." In the early days of the motor vehicle, French speakers extended the word to those who drove the "horseless carriage," It eventually developed a metaphorical sense specifically for someone hired to drive other people. It was this latter sense that was borrowed into English in the late 19th century. Incidentally, the French word chauffeur derives from the same Anglo-French word that gave English speakers the verb chafe, and ultimately can be traced back to the Latin verb calēre ("to be warm").


In many times in the past, proper physical presence is presented by the chauffeur at all times. This usually includes a well-groomed individual, conservatively dressed in a clean and crisply pressed black or dark business suit or tuxedo(the complete semiformal outfit, including the jacket, dark trousers, often with silk stripes down the sides, a bow tie, and usually a cummerbund), with black leather gloves and freshly polished matching shoes. White gloves are the norm in some areas. Chauffeurs have special uniform dressing according to their company values. Some companies have complete uniforms for their chauffeurs, and some companies require that hats be worn as part of the uniform.


First examination of chauffers under new law, N.Y., A.S. Callan Secy. Enig. LCCN2014688389
First examination of chauffeurs under new law, New York, 1910

In addition to the minimum legal requirements, limousine companies often require their chauffeurs to undergo specific extra training. These courses may involve evasive driving or defensive driving techniques, the proper methods to ensure safety in the most extreme conditions such as inclement weather, a flat tire at high speeds, or other exterior influences for loss of vehicular control, etc. Most companies also have their own courses as to what they expect from their chauffeurs. Chauffeurs may be taught proper etiquette for use when they are in presence of their clientele. They may also be trained for services to the client beyond the car itself, such as for a personal valet or bodyguard. Many companies and local licensing agencies currently require random drug screening – in the United States this was especially the case after professional ice hockey player Vladimir Konstantinov's career-ending injuries when his recently hired chauffeur, Richard Gnida, lost control of their limousine and crashed.

Notable chauffeurs

Duties of chauffeurs

  • Responsible for handling all insurance and annual inspection to branch vehicles;
  • Save fuel consumption and reduce maintenance costs of vehicles.
  • Responsible for keeping the vehicle clean (including inside, outside, and engine clean);

Benefits of hiring a chauffeur

Most chauffeurs have experience with several divergent vehicles and have brilliant driving skills. Another advantage is that those who hire a chauffeur don't have to worry about getting to their destination. A chauffeur is always ready to pick you up as soon as you are prepared to go.

In an unknown city, a private driver can help one buy certain items or provide a scoop on local eateries and must-visit places.

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