It is one of the key safety aspects of the transport regulatory regime that a responsible person (usually the driver) undertakes a proper check of the vehicle every day that it is being used.

Making sure that your drivers undertake this important check before they take over driving the vehicle (even if the vehicle is being handed over to them by another driver) could be crucial if ever there was an accident and the authorities come calling.  It is not just having the evidence of the check (with "Nil Defects" being recorded if no problems are found), it is ensuring that if defects are found on the vehicle that there is an established and documented procedure for the driver to follow in order to report the defect to the relevant person in the organisation and further action to determine whether the reported defect means that the vehicle should not be used until the defect has been fixed.

The government website gives at least 24 items that must be checked on a vehicle before it can be driven.  Click here to view a video produced by the DVSA which illustrates how to undertake a suitable check.  The DVSA have also produced a walk around check diagram, which helps to highlight the key areas for drivers to look at.  Click here to view.

The Police and DVSA can stop your vehicles and undertake checks by the roadside at any time.  If they find any issues, your driver can be prohibited from driving the vehicle and the vehicle may even by impounded, or an on-the-spot fine issued, depending upon what type of problem is found.  Very serious penalties can be imposed for using an HGV (or PSV) in a dangerous condition both for the driver and the operator including the prospect of criminal prosecution and/or call up to Public Inquiry.

If the worst does happen and one of your vehicles is pulled over and found to be defective, it is important that the driver knows how to deal with the authorities at the road side and that specialist legal advice is sort quickly to ensure that any wider damage or disruption to the business is contained.

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Testing regimes are necessary for all HGV and PSV vehicles

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