A man uses a tablet while checking an HGV

The HGV daily walk around check: Why it’s vital for commercial vehicle operators

We should all do a once-over of the oil and tyres when going out in our own vehicles, but operators and drivers of HGVs have a legal requirement to do more.

By definition, these vehicles are significantly heavier than cars and could therefore pose a real risk to other road users if they are not properly maintained and cared for.

That’s why the HGV daily walk around check is a vital part of road safety. It’s also essential before every journey under Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) regulations.

Here, we’ll take a look at this part of the law in more detail and explain how and why HGV operators must adhere to it.

What is the HGV daily walk around check and why do it?

The HGV daily walk around check lays out what drivers need to inspect – both inside and outside their vehicles – before taking to the roads. It’s just as essential as scheduled maintenance checks like servicing, and it can be followed up on at any time by police.

It aims to pick up on faults – however minor – on commercial vehicles and ensure they are addressed before they worsen and become potentially dangerous.

This might seem like a chore, but the HGV daily walk around check could actually save you money. By finding defects on lorries early, both maintenance costs and vehicle downtime may be reduced in the long run.

Indeed, according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), 85 per cent of lorry defects could be picked up during a simple walk around. Many are also quickly and inexpensively solved.

Logistics UK and the Road Haulage Association recommend that the HGV daily walk around check should take around 15 minutes if done properly. This means it must be factored in as an essential rather than skimmed over as an afterthought.

Furthermore, it could prove crucial should detailed records of a journey be required in the event of an accident.

What should be looked at during the walk around check?

Young female driver sitting in cab of truck

Inside the vehicle, drivers must check:

  • Mirrors
  • Windscreen and wipers
  • The front view
  • All dashboard gauges
  • The steering
  • The horn
  • Seatbelts
  • Brakes and air

Importantly, height is also a requirement, as outlined in Network Rail’s ‘Wise Up, Size Up’ campaign against HGV bridge strikes.

Outside the vehicle, drivers must check:

  • Lights
  • Reflectors and indicators
  • Fuel and oil
  • The battery
  • Exhaust fluid
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Spray suppression
  • Brakes
  • Electrical connections
  • Coupling security
  • Number plates
  • Tyres
  • Warning plates

The DVSA’s guidance lists everything that should be examined as part of a walk around in greater detail, and there is an accompanying video and diagram to act as a reminder.

Who is responsible for the HGV daily walk around check?

It is each individual driver’s responsibility to ensure daily walk around checks on their HGVs have been carried out prior to use.

Even if more than one driver uses a lorry and it has already been out on a particular day, the next driver must do their own inspection before they embark. This will ensure the vehicle is always roadworthy and safe, even if a new fault occurs between trips.

The HGV daily walk around check may be carried out by anyone provided they have been trained to do so, whether that is a driver or a mechanic.

Although drivers cannot be expected to scrutinise their vehicles in the way a mechanic might, they should be able to spot simple flaws that could be flagged up to someone with additional maintenance training.

Fleet and other commercial vehicle owners should provide initial training for every employee when they start, then top this up with refresher courses later on. This will ensure greater knowledge of new makes and models, as well as cover any new developments in terms of updated equipment and regulations.

Remember too that equipment such as waterproof clothing and torches must be provided so that employees can carry out inspections in all weathers without missing anything.

The DVSA regularly organises and runs seminars for training purposes, so this may be worth looking into.

Failure to carry out checks

If HGV drivers are failing to carry out their daily walk around checks, owners could stand to lose more than money in costly repairs.

DVSA officers and police have the legal right to stop commercial vehicles at any time to do inspections at the roadside. Under these circumstances, they will likely ask for the records of the walk around check.

If any issues are discovered that should already have been noted and repaired as part of daily maintenance, the driver may have their vehicle confiscated and an on-the-spot fine issued.

Should the HGV be deemed unroadworthy or dangerous, both the driver and the operator may face the prospect of criminal prosecution, a public inquiry and even a prison sentence.

In the unfortunate event of an accident, daily walk around check records will also be pulled up. Should they prove lacking, the driver and the operator could find themselves liable and face considerable insurance issues.

DVSA records state that 35,744 prohibitions were handed out in 2018-19, with tyres, brake systems, steering and indicators among the most common faults.

How to record the HGV daily walk around check

A driver records information on a tablet near an HGV.

All HGV operators must have a system in place for recording and reporting their daily walk around checks. Templates can be found online to download so that drivers have their own book of vehicle walk around sheets and defect forms.

Should defects be discovered, drivers must report them so further action can be taken. They should not use the vehicle until the defect has been fixed.

On their defect forms, the following information should be recorded:

  • Time and date of defect discovery
  • Description of defect
  • Action taken to mitigate effects

How a daily walk around check app could help

Although paper forms remain a legally acceptable method of recording and reporting vehicle defects, they are subject to disadvantages. Drivers may lose or damage them, and some may even be tempted to backdate them in a bid to set off more quickly.

Operators also have the problem of having to transfer data from paper forms into an electronic system for their records.

In a digital age, a daily walk around check app such as MyDriveSafe offers an electronic version of this traditionally manual inspection process.

Apps are easy to use, reduce the likelihood of errors, make it easy to comply with government safety standards and boost efficiency, meaning drivers will save time while still sticking to the law.

Users can record information using Quick Reference (QR) codes on their vehicles, including photographic evidence and time and date details, with the results sent to operators’ fleet management systems in real time.

This provides an auditable trail should any issues crop up with vehicles at a later date.

With new updated guidance from the DVSA on HGV daily walk around checks available online – and in video form for mobile devices – as well as apps to help carry them out, there really is no excuse not to be on top of this part of the law.

To find out more about how tools like MyDriveSafe can help ensure your fleet is safe and compliant with the law, get in touch with our team today.

MyDriveSafe.Expert vehicle checking app – the features and benefits

UK law states that all commercial vehicles are checked daily, regularly inspected and recorded constantly to ensure that they’re safe to drive.

Carrying out checks daily to ensure that vehicles are safe is the responsibility of every driver, and every manager. Thankfully, that responsibility is now much easier with MyDriveSafe.Expert. The app is free to download and use. Plus, there’s a manager’s portal and full reporting and compliance with all major standards.

MyDriveSafe.Expert will help you to protect your business and ensure you’re staying compliance.

Make huge savings

The MyDriveSafe.Expert app reduces admin time, records time taken to complete vehicle checks, and produces a clear audit trail for just £1 per week per driver. You’ll spot potential problems, earlier, preventing increasing, costly repairs and keep your fleet on the road.

There’s no hidden start-up fees, long term commitment or minimum number of vehicles as well as easy, hassle-free online reporting.

Middle aged businessman wearing shirt while sitting at office desk and using his computer.

Security and peace of mind

Security is a key feature of every My Fleet Hub solution, and MyDriveSafe.Expert is no exception. With the MyDriveSafe.Expert app, a user can’t go back and amend their results once their check has been completed. Defects with vehicles are displayed until they are fully resolved, which can be a key component of your fleet management to help ensure you’re staying fully compliant.

It also comes with an offline function, so when you have no signal or data, you can still perform daily walkaround checks and the data will be transferred once you’re back online. There’s also support for many motoring organisations which is included within the templates, making it even easier for your fleet to comply.

Forwarder or truck driver in drivers cap holding mobile phone

A comprehensive suite of services

MyDriveSafe.Expert also comes with the ability to customise your checklists, report defects quickly and look up a vehicles DVLA information. With the driver’s app, there’s no more paperwork or guesswork, you simply have to choose your vehicle from the database by typing in the vehicles registration, choose from one of the industry standard, or custom templates and complete your check all from a smartphone app that’s free to download.

With the manager’s portal, you can view all vehicle safety checks in one clear, user-friendly dashboard. You can then sort against each vehicle or driver with a clear prompt for unresolved problems.

Our dedicated team can help you discover all the advantages available with MyDriveSafe.Expert, helping you with seamless integration with your business. Contact one of our team members today to get started.

Truck Drivers Hand Holding Tablet Checking Stock Photo

Vehicle checks and defect reporting

Having an effective way of reporting and checking for vehicle defects should be a key part of your fleets vehicle maintenance regime. It’s also a good way to make sure your drivers are aware of which defects to look out for.

It’s estimated that 85% of roadworthiness infringements could be avoided if the driver has done a walk around check before starting their journey. Operators have been called to public enquiries because drivers have missed defects during their checks, or in some cases, haven’t done checks at all.

Your drivers aren’t necessarily expected to be mechanics but their vehicles should be in decent roadworthy condition before they’re out on the road. Carrying out daily fleet vehicle checks is a legal requirement, so you can demonstrate you are compliant with Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) requirements.

As well as the legal prerequisites, daily checks are important for noticing any potentially dangerous or expensive vehicle faults.

Methodical daily vehicle safety checks

Truck driver holding clipboard daily checking safety truck wheels, vehicle maintenance checklist program.

The inspection has to take place before the vehicle is out on the road. If the vehicles are used by multiple drivers in a single day, it’s preferable to have a responsible individual carry out the checks initially. Other drivers that operate the vehicle through the day should also constantly monitor the vehicle during its use.

There is a full list of the fleet vehicle checks on the government’s website.

Things that drivers must check include things like: tyre condition, brakes, steering, lights, indicators and hazard warning lights. These checks should cover the whole vehicle, including the trailer if the vehicle is towing one, and any interior and exterior items should be also carefully inspected.

The results must be recorded and any defects or faults must be reported and repairs should be undertaken before the vehicle is allowed back on the road again.

Reporting defects

Any defects discovered during the daily walkaround check, and indeed any that the driver becomes aware of during their journey must be reported.

What to record

  • The vehicle registration/identification mark
  • The date
  • Details of the defects
  • Your assessment of the defect (e.g. ‘dangerous’)
  • Your name
  • Who it was reported to

If a driver is made aware of any defects during a journey

The driver should find a safe place to stop and assess and report any defects that they become aware of during the journey. Any dangerous defects must be fixed before continuing the journey.

The DVSA can ask for a record of the walkaround check during a roadside check. You can receive an unlimited fine and prison sentence if you are found using a HGV in a dangerous condition.

Reporting can be done via a form that includes a list of the items checked each day. If no defects are found, it should be recorded that ‘nil’ defects have been found. The checks themselves usually take little time, but it’s now much easier and more efficient with the MyDriveSafe.Expert app.


Female using her mobile phone, city skyline night light background

With the MyDriveSafe, there’s no more paperwork. The app is free to download and use and significantly reduces admin time. The app also records the amount of time taken to undertake the checks, creates incident/accident reports, producing a clear audit trail. This helps you identify problems sooner, helping to avoid increasing costs and keeps your fleet moving.

You can view all of your vehicle checks in one clear and user-friendly dashboard. From there, it’s easy to sort against each vehicle or driver with a clear prompt for unresolved issues.

Contact us now and we’ll help you save time and money with MyDriveSafe.Expert.

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.


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.


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.