A large HGV travels across country to deliver or collect goods for the next business location

HGV daily walkaround checks

Drivers, vehicle operators and transport and fleet managers have a collective responsibility to ensure that the vehicles they are operating are safe to drive and that they’re roadworthy. While this is true of all types of vehicles, there are specific checks that must be carried out for lorries and other HGV’s daily, before the start of each journey.

What is an HGV daily check?

HGV daily checks, also referred to as walkaround checks, must be carried out before each journey to fulfil the obligation of ensuring a vehicle to safe to drive. The walkaround checks the drivers must do, need to cover the whole vehicle, including the trailer that the vehicle is towing and carefully assesses the interior and exterior items that can be safely assessed by the driver.

The checks that the drivers must carry out include: tyre condition, brake systems and components, steering, lamps, direction indicators and hazard warning lamps.

The latest walkaround guide issued by the DVSA also highlights an issue that has seen increased publicity in recent years – that of bridge strikes. The guidance now makes it clearer that drivers should be checking their vehicle height as part of the checks.

According to Network Rail, there are five bridge strikes every day that can cause death or serious injury to road and rail users. The DVSA has said that “not only are bridge strikes dangerous, but they cost the UK taxpayer around £23m a year to repair, as well as landing the owner of the vehicle substantial costs”.

The DVSA has updated their guidance video, highlighting some of the main checks that need to be completed.

Drivers are legally responsible for the condition of the heavy vehicle they are driving, so they must carry out these walkaround checks before each journey. The results of the checks must be recorded and any safety defects need to be reported and fixed before the vehicle is driven.

How long should HGV daily checks take?

The HGV daily checks are relatively simple, but it is important to do a comprehensive, thorough check of the vehicle.

With this in mind, the exact time it can take will vary. The emphasis should be placed on carrying out the checks thoroughly and carefully, rather than the length of time it takes to check your vehicle.

There are some sources that say the checks should take at least 15 minutes to complete, but it may take longer than this. The important thing to carry out each of the necessary checks before starting your journey, regardless of how long it takes.

A truck driver holding clipboard checking safety a large fuel tank of semi truck.

The latest DVSA guidance about walkaround checks

Carrying out HGV daily checks

To maintain roadworthiness, the DVSA has advised that the daily HGV walkaround checks must be completed

  • Before the vehicle is driven on the road each day
  • If more than one driver uses the vehicle in a day, then the driver taking charge of the vehicle should carry out their own additional checks to ensure the vehicle is safe for them to drive

The driver must also monitor the condition of their vehicle and report any defects that make themselves apparent.

Keeping a record of HGV daily checks

The driver must record all of the defects found during the daily checks and any that become apparent during a journey. It’s recommended that an agreed form or system is used to record the checks.

Forms should be used to record that all the relevant checks have been carried out each day. If no defects were discovered, the DVSA guidance states that a ‘nil’ reporting method is used, therefore confirming that checks were made, but no defects were found.

If defects are discovered during the checks, the records should include:

  • The vehicle registration
  • The date
  • Details of the defects or symptoms
  • Your assessment of the defects (e.g. ‘dangerous’)
  • Your name
  • Who the defect was reported to
  • Rectification work
  • Date rectification work was completed

Records should be reported to responsible person who has the ability to request the remedial action and records should be kept and be available for viewing for 15 months.

If any defects are discovered that may impact the vehicles safety, the vehicle must not be used until its repaired.

Responsibility for HGV daily checks

The condition and safety of the HGV is ultimately the legal responsibility of the driver. However, transport managers and vehicle operators must ensure that their processes include daily HGV checks. They must also ensure that drivers are made aware of their legal responsibilities with regards to vehicle condition and the procedures of reporting defects.

The DVSA recommends that responsibilities are detailed in writing and that drivers should be properly trained and drivers should sign to confirm that they’ve received a written copy of their responsibilities and understand what is required of them.

The consequences of not carrying out HGV daily checks

The DVSA can stop you and ask you to complete the daily checks on your vehicle, or request a copy of the records which show you have completed the necessary daily checks.

If any defects are found on a vehicle during one of these checks, drivers can be prevented from driving until the defect is fixed, or a fine can issued to the driver.

Driver writing electronic log

Carrying out daily checks to ensure that vehicles are of the highest safety standard is the duty of every driver and manager. It’s now much easier with the MyDriveSafe.Expert app, free to download and use, plus a manager’s portal and full reporting and compliance with all major standards for just £1 per driver per week.

The MyDriveSafe app reduces admin time, records the time taken to perform checks, creates incident/accident reports and produces a clear audit trail, helping you to spot problems earlier, avoid increasing costs and keep your fleet on the road.

Fleet manager completing vehicle checks on app

What are the rules of fleet vehicle checks?

When it comes to vehicle safety, you’re responsible for making sure your vehicles are safe to drive. Carrying out daily fleet vehicle checks is a legal requirement, so you can demonstrate compliance with Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) requirements.

As well as legal requirements, daily checks are vital for noticing any potential dangerous and costly faults.

Daily vehicle safety checks

The inspection must take place just before the vehicle is used by a trusted person. If your vehicles are used by several drivers a day, it is preferable to have a responsible person to carry out the vehicle checks initially. Other drivers throughout the day should constantly monitor the vehicle during its use.

You can find the full list of fleet vehicle checks on the government’s website.

Routine

Each time we step into a vehicle, we make checks possibly without consciously realising. We naturally check we have fuel in the tank, our mirrors are correct, and our seatbelt is fastened.

By adding on other vehicle checks, you can easily get into the habit of your vehicle inspection routine to ensure your safety, as well as other drivers on the road.

It can take no longer than 5 minutes, especially if you use a comprehensive fleet vehicle checks app.

MyDriveSafe

Instead of completing paperwork, you can complete vehicle checks on the MyDriveSafe app.

On the app, you can select your vehicle from our database by typing in the registration. Choose from one of the industry standard checklist templates for the type of vehicle or create your own, and go.

You can add photos and notes to any item. Once complete, checklist data is uploaded to the Cloud as soon as it detects an internet connection for you or your manager to review via an online portal.

Find out more from our brochure or get in touch with our team of experts.

 

Drivers shunning MOT extension, poll finds

Relatively few drivers are making use of the six-month extension to their MOT certificate that has been available as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll has found.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced at the end of March this year that any car, van or motorcycle requiring the annual test would be exempt for six months in order to help frontline workers do their jobs and to assist people in adhering to the lockdown.

Garages were to be open for essential repair work only, the government said.

Keeping to the same routine

However, a new study by RAC Approved Garages has found that the majority of drivers are not intending to make use of the MOT extension, opting instead to keep servicing their vehicles as usual.

Only 14 per cent said they will use the exemption, with 44 per cent reporting they would be booking their car, van or bike in at their garage just like before.

More than half (52 per cent) said this is because they want to ensure the proper safety checks have been made when they are due, while 16 per cent pointed out there may be a long waiting list to book an MOT once lockdown formally ends.

Some 27 per cent of respondents to the survey revealed they hadn’t heard about the MOT extension and therefore did not know it was available to them.

RAC spokesperson Adam O’Neill said: “It’s encouraging to see that a large proportion of people clearly care about the condition of their cars and aren’t being put off from getting them through their MOTs or serviced as normal.”

However, he added that anyone planning to make use of the exemption must take their car to a garage as soon as possible if they believe there is a problem with its running.

“Every driver must remember that the safety and roadworthiness of their vehicle remains their responsibility,” Mr O’Neill added.

Tom Cosway, brand representative for Fuel Card Services, comments: “The MOT extension has been a useful initiative, particularly for fleet owners whose businesses have been on hiatus. However, remember that all garages are taking great pains to be COVID-safe, so they are still there if you need them and want to book in your usual services.”

Read more about MyService.Expert for cost-effective vehicle servicing, maintenance and repair with discounts on parts and labour.

Tips for safely rejoining the road

With many drivers taking to the roads for the first time since lockdown was imposed, it is crucial to ensure your vehicles are roadworthy. The government announced that any car, van or motorcycle MOT due from 30 March 2020 will be extended by six months, however, you should have an obligation to check the safety of your vehicle before you drive it after a long period of time.

Here are a few tips on how to check your vehicles:

Lights

Ensuring your lights are fully functional is vital. However, there are specific lights that can be missed to double check: front and rear headlights, licence plate light, hazards lights, indicators, brake lights. If any of your warning lights are coming on intermittently, it’s worth getting them checked out before booking your MOT.

Tyres

There are two important aspects to maintain when looking after your tyres.

The first is tread. The legal requirement states tyre tread must be at least 1.6mm deep. You can buy tread depth tools that are available in petrol stations or online. Alternatively, you can put a 20p coin in the treads. If you can’t see the outer band, your tyres will need replacing. Plan to ensure you can drive to a garage safely to reduce any unnecessary journeys.

The second feature is pressure. Tyres need to be kept at their optimum pressure found on their sidewall as pressure is gradually lost over time. Even if left stationary for an extended period, the tyres can develop flat spots and lose their roundness. If your car may be idle for several months, roll it carefully now and then to keep them even.

Vehicle liquids

It is sensible to check the levels of fluid to ensure when you do return to the road that your vehicle is car ready.

Ensure your fuel, oil, engine coolant and windscreen cleaner are topped up, so your vehicle is prepared for its next outing.

Here at Fuel Card Services we can help with our new product MyDriveSafe.Expert.

MyDriveSafe.Expert is our daily vehicle checks app that gives drivers a simple, comprehensive range of checklists, covering almost all vehicles and compliance with up to date safety standards. The Company Managers portal allows the fleet manager or business owner to monitor their fleet in one place easily. Any defects registered can then be actioned by the fleet manager or business owner.

For further information on MyDriveSafe.Expert, visit https://www.fuelcardservices.com/my-drive-safe or download our app to improve service, savings, security immediately.

‘Strong argument’ to carry on MOT tests during lockdown

There is a ‘strong argument’ for fleets to continue MOT tests during lockdown measures, despite the six month suspension, says FleetCheck.

In response to the current measures, the government announced a six month extension of MOT tests in efforts to maximise forms of social distancing.

Peter Golding, Managing Director of FleetCheck states, “When the six-month suspension was first announced, the conventional wisdom was that the vast majority of workshops offering MOT tests would probably effectively close but many are operational”.

“With this in mind, there is a strong argument for fleets to continue with MOTs as normal; whether their vehicles are currently in use or not. Employers need to remember that they are liable for the safety of vehicle, whether it has been officially tested or not. If something goes wrong during that six month period, it is still very much their responsibility”, he added.

It is thought that there will be a testing overload towards the end of the extension period. As a result of this, fleets may end up going longer than six months without MOT testing, which could potentially lead to an increase of serious faults.

With MyService.Expert, you can make savings of 30% on parts and labour for your vehicle maintenance, repairs, and MOTs. Find out how much you can save on your next booking. Find out more here.

Service, savings, security.