Majority of HGV drivers not carrying out daily walkaround checks, survey finds

Most HGV drivers are not consistently carrying out daily walkaround checks, with 39% saying they never do checks, a survey has found.

The survey by vehicle and fleet safety specialists CameraMatics of more than 500 UK and Ireland based drivers, asking how often they carry out daily walkaround checks. More than half (55%) said they do not regularly carry out regular walkaround checks, while 39% said ‘I never do checks’ and a further 15.8% saying they rarely complete checks.

Just 29.4% of drivers told CameraMatics they always complete checks, with 15.5% saying they usually do them.

Ensuring daily walkaround checks happen is part of the commitment an HGV fleet operator makes to receive a license and an important part of ongoing compliance. However, it’s drivers who are responsible for the state of the vehicle they drive and walkaround checks should be a part of every driver’s pre-journey routine.

Completing them means drivers and fleet operators are constantly aware of the state of their vehicle(s). The DVSA reported in January 2020 that 85% of truck defects can be picked up during a walkaround check and often these can be quickly and inexpensively solved.

Being on the road with a defective vehicle can mean that small problems get worse and could mean that the driver and other road users are put at risk.

There’s also the legal aspect. Drivers can receive an unlimited fine and even a prison sentence for using an HGV in a dangerous condition, and there are many sanctions for operators too. In the event of an accident, incident, or being pulled over by an enforcement agency, evidence of adequate walkaround vehicle checks will be sought. Lack of evidence could lead to insurance issues in the event of a claim or pay-out. In this circumstance, both the driver and the operator can be liable.

CameraMatics also surveyed more than 250 HGV fleet managers about vehicle checking systems. More than 50% of respondents said they still use a pen and paper system for checks.

Simon Murray, founder and director of CameraMatics, said, “It’s concerning to hear that over 50% of drivers say they do not carry out regular walkaround checks.”

Murray added that using apps for walkaround checks significantly improves safety and compliance. “It allows fleets to ditch unreliable and inefficient pen and paper systems,” he said. “As well as giving managers an instant notification of check completion and results there’s also a time and location-stamped record of every check. This can be crucial in the event of enforcement or insurance issues.”

Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now writes for The Van Expert and The Truck Expert.

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