Driver walkaround checks are not to be viewed as an inconvenience; they are mandatory and should be completed before setting off on your journey.
Checking your vehicle before your journey will help to keep you and other road users safe. It is much better to find a vehicle defect before a journey rather than discovering a fault en route that could cause a long cold wait at the side of the road.
It takes time to do a thorough walkaround check
Both the FTA and RHA advise that it will take approximately 15 minutes to do a full walkaround check. Before commencing your vehicle checks remember to insert your digital tachograph card, and select ‘other duties’. This then includes this activity within your working day on your tachograph record.
Ensure you have all the equipment necessary to conduct your walkaround checks. For example, a torch for checking your allocated vehicle in the dark, and waterproof clothing for when it is wet.
When they are available ask a colleague or driver’s mate to assist in checking rear lights and indicators.
Vehicle operators should make sure drivers know what they’re doing
When a driver is recruited it is important that the vehicle operator is confident that the driver knows how to carry out walkaround checks properly. It is best practice to provide initial training, and subsequent refresher training.
Best practice also suggests that training is given on different makes and models of vehicles, as well as how to check any specialist equipment fitted to the vehicle.
The commitment invested in training will save time and money in the long run.
During the journey
Ensuring the vehicle is safe is a continuous process throughout the journey.
Should a problem develop with the vehicle that makes it unsafe to continue you must stop and report the problem for necessary repairs to be carried out.
Treat a problem that makes the vehicle unsafe to drive as a breakdown. Because a vehicle can still be driven it does not follow that it should still be driven.
Keep up to date
The DVSA organises and runs regular new operator seminars. These aren’t compulsory, but all operators are welcome.
At these events the DVSA offers advice and guidance for drivers and operators to follow to avoid penalties and stay safe.
Walkaround checks are mandatory for commercial vehicles – and there are many ways to ensure that they are performed efficiently, effectively and thoroughly.
DVSA’s priority is to keep all vehicles safe to drive. Walkaround checks are the most effective way of achieving that.
“Not only could they can save your business money, they could save your life.”
Image source: DVSA website