The “Daily Vehicle Walk About” is a visual check of your truck’s parts and systems carried out at the start of each day. This daily visual check is very important, legally, to your haulage work. |
Is The Daily Walk Around a Legal Obligation?
In a word – yes. Before the first journey of the day, either the truck’s driver or a mechanic must perform a visual check of the vehicle. If you work for a company, perhaps driving different vehicles, this can be seen as a way of familiarising yourself with the vehicle. If you regularly drive the same truck, you’ll be familiar with it and should be able to easily spot defects or faults.
The walk around shouldn’t take more than a few minutes but you must remember to use an organised, printed checklist to record all of your findings so that they can be fixed. Failure to carry out the daily walk around is illegal and could make you liable to charges of negligence, endangering public safety and even sabotage.
Don’t Make Yourself Guilty of Negligence
Drivers or owners of trucks engaged in commercial haulage work must have an Operator’s License. Being awarded an Operator’s License means that the licensee is legally obligated to adhere to a specific set of rules and regulations.
These regulations stipulate a duty to maintain the vehicle in a roadworthy condition and require, as well as six weekly workshop inspections, a daily visual check. Failure to carry out the daily check or failure to rectify any faults discovered during the check means that you are allowing a potentially dangerous vehicle on the public roads. In the event of an accident, the holder of the Operator’s License could be liable to prosecution on the grounds of negligence and endangering public safety.
Don’t Get Complacent
If your haulage work involves driving the same truck regularly, then beware of complacency. It’s all too easy to climb into your cab at the start of the day and convince yourself that since the vehicle was fine when you finished work yesterday –it must be OK today. Missing daily checks could eventually lead to the habit of only checking it once every couple of weeks. But imagine being pulled over for a spot check and the inspectors find a fault that should obviously been found on the daily walk around. You’ll receive, at the very least, a fine and points on your licence but could even possibly be prosecuted.
Worst Case Scenario
But what if you’re involved in an accident and it’s discovered that you hadn’t been doing the daily check? If the accident wasn’t your fault, you’re still legally liable. It’s possible that your insurance would be void and you’d have no coverage for injury and damage.
But what if the accident was caused because you failed to do the daily walk around? What if, because of leaking brake fluid or faulty air brakes - both things that should have been checked on the daily examination - your truck crashed into a car? Do you really want that responsibility?
So remember, take the 10 or 15 minutes needed to do a thorough and complete check of your vehicle before starting your day’s haulage work. It’s for your benefit.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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