Why is it important to carry out regular maintenance inspections all year round to avoid dangerous incidents?
Now that the weather is becoming colder, and the nights are getting darker, it is more important than ever to make sure you’re maintaining your vehicles properly. It is crucial to make sure all maintenance inspections have been carried out on time and effectively by reliable providers.
The DVSA have said: “We want to remind all operators to prioritise vital vehicle maintenance and ensure they are legal and roadworthy all year round. This includes checking you are getting what you pay for from third party maintenance providers. The data also shows that more than 60% of HGV prohibition defects found at the roadside three months after the MOT could have been reported and fixed before beginning a journey, or noticed when driving the vehicle.”
Defects will always be inevitable, therefore, the best way to ensure defects are found at the earliest opportunity is to ensure that all drivers, transport managers and operators are properly trained. The training should include guidance on effectively conducting daily walk around checks; reporting any defects found and correct training on what qualifies as a defect. It is also important that they are taught why it is important to conduct these inspections and the risks that could occur if they are not.
It is an offence to use an unroadworthy vehicle on the road. This is because of the threat to public safety if the vehicle is unsafe and as a resulting risk of serious injury or fatalities to either the driver or any other road users. The DVSA continues: “Drivers generally don’t want to use an unroadworthy vehicle but sometimes they don’t realise how dangerous a vehicle can be, even with the simplest of fault. A very common example of this is a direction indicator not working. This can be very dangerous for other drivers and particularly vulnerable road users if indicators can’t be seen. This defect means the vehicle becomes immediately dangerous. We find many drivers and operators don’t realise the urgency and wait to get the indicator fixed when it gets back to base. If we check the vehicle at the roadside and find this type of fault, the vehicle will receive an immediate prohibition and the driver could get a fixed penalty. We want to avoid so many cases of this happening in the future as it is a waste of your time and resources to bring in a vehicle which will fail the test.”
The DVSA say that it is the responsibility of both operators and drivers when making sure vehicles are in good working order before they leave their base of operations. It is important that the operators give their drivers enough time to complete their checks by scheduling their day with enough time do so.
The DVSA say Operators and Drivers should assess any defect as soon as it is spotted if it is safe to do so. If the vehicle is considered dangerous, it must be treated as broken-down and should not be used. The DVSA have issued guidance on what defects are categorised as dangerous, which can be seen on the gov.uk website.
If a defect is found during the journey, but is not considered dangerous, the defect should still be reported by the driver and the DVSA will accept the vehicle can be repaired at the end of the current day.