Making sure a vehicle is safe to drive is the responsibility of the driver. In line with UK legislation, the VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) walkaround check should occur daily, to ensure the vehicle meets the minimum roadworthiness requirement.
They are keeping not only the driver safe but other road users too. However, a recent study by fleet vehicle safety specialists CameraMatics showed that over 40% of drivers fail to do regular daily checks on their vehicles.
Why is a walkaround vehicle check crucial?
The daily walkaround inspection is a legal requirement, that should be part of a driver’s pre-journey general maintenance before they even enter the vehicle. Carrying out a daily check of the vehicle can prevent defects causing further damage and expense further down the road. Being stopped by the police or DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) with a defective vehicle can even land you a fine of up to £5000, depending on the defect found. Above all, lowering the risk to the operator, yourself and other road users is the ultimate motivation to carry out your daily checks.
How to carry out a walkaround check
When was the last time you carried out a vehicle check? If you need a refresher on how to inspect your vehicle, we’ve got you covered. Gov.uk has provided extensive guidance on what needs checking inside and outside the vehicle. Including how to record defects to the person in charge. Leave 15 minutes before the start of your journey to carry out an essential check before entering the vehicle.
To begin the walkaround, you'll need a check and defect book. Our selection of vehicle inspection books is the perfect way to report vehicle safety daily.
• PCV driver’s daily vehicle check and defect book
• HGV driver’s daily vehicle check and defect book
• Van check and defect report
• Vehicle check and defect rectification book
Filling in a driver defect book every day is good practice for safety compliance, especially if VOSA or the police ever stopped you. Our driver defect books have sections on specific areas to record faults and a ‘nil defect’ box if your vehicle has a clean bill of health.
During the journey
A pre-journey inspection doesn't mean your work is complete. Recognising defects whilst driving should also be a high priority. If you spot a fault whilst driving, our vehicle defect reporting pad is the perfect way to write an in-service report at a specific time.
Walkaround Check Myths
Myth - The driver isn’t responsible for checking the vehicle.
FALSE – Some drivers believe it’s the operator’s responsibility to check the safety of a vehicle. But it’s the driver’s responsibility to assess the roadworthiness of the vehicle they drive. The operator should provide you with the time to ensure these checks are complete, ensuring the driver and other road users are kept safe.
Myth – I only drive this vehicle, so I don't have to complete a check.
FALSE – Whether you are swapping vehicles or are driving a vehicle assigned to you. Most accidents can happen due to simple miscalculation or not being familiar with different HGVS. Bridge strikes are a common example of miscalculation. Network Rail report rising figures every year, and research between 2017-2018 showed 40 bridge strikes were happening every week. With a repair cost of £23million a year, it’s surprising to learn 43% of lorry drivers admit to not measuring their vehicle before starting their journey.
Myth – I did a vehicle check last week, so I don’t need to do another.
FALSE – It's a legal requirement to assess the vehicle you are driving daily. If VOSA or the police stopped you and they noticed a defect, you could face a fine of up to £5000.
Myth – I won't be liable in the event of an accident.
FALSE – Both the driver and the operator could be liable in the event of an accident. If you don’t have evidence of carrying out your daily checks and an accident occurred due to human error, you may be liable.