HGV daily walkaround checks: identifying and reporting defects

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Updated 02/12/2022

If you drive an HGV or PSV, daily walkaround checks are a legal requirement checked by the DVSA. They should take around 15 minutes to complete, and should be carried out by the driver each day before being driven on a public road. Even if the vehicle has already been checked by one driver, if a new one takes over on the same day, the safety checks must be carried out again. If any issues or defects are found, the vehicle is likely to be deemed unsafe to drive. But which defects are classified as unsafe, and can HGVs and PSVs be driven despite the discovery of a defect?

In this guide, we will explore how to carry out a daily walkaround check of an HGV, and how to report any defects found. We will also discuss whether the vehicle is still safe to drive, and how long you should keep your daily walkaround check report sheets for.

How do I carry out a daily walkaround check?

In order to carry out a thorough daily walkaround check of your HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) or PSV (Public Service Vehicle), you should utilise a checklist that adheres to the DVSA’s guidance, which your employer may provide for you. You should thoroughly check the inside and outside of your vehicle to ensure that everything is up to standard before setting off on your journey. You can use a paper checklist, or you can use a more practical, digital version via the AssetGo app.

Important checks include, but are not limited to:

  • Mirrors; check for any scratches, cracks or discolouration

  • Dashboard warning lights; if any warning lights are illuminated, check them immediately

  • Brakes; make sure the footwell of the vehicle is clear, and that the brakes themselves are working optimally

  • Lights and indicators; make sure that all lights are working correctly and are the right colour

  • Battery; check that the battery is secure and in good working condition

  • Tyres; they should be secure, have a tread depth of 1mm and have no deep cuts

  • Number plate; this should be clearly visible and should not be broken

All checks on your checklist should be carried out and all defects must be reported if found. Legally, the DVSA have the right to pull over any HGV or PSV and carry out a vehicle check of their own.

Truck driver holding clipboard and inspecting safety check maintenance program of a semi truck.

How do I report any defects during my daily walkaround check?

Daily walkaround checks of HGVs and PSVs must be carried out by the driver before they set off on their journey. If any defects are found during the journey, they must be reported as well. If a vehicle defect is found, the driver must take note of the details of the defect, as well as the vehicle registration number, their name and the date on which the defect was found. The driver must also report whether they believe the defect is dangerous or not, and who the issue was reported to.

The driver of the HGV or PSV must report the defect to the relevant person within their company, who can then ensure that the vehicle is marked as unroadworthy until the defect is sorted. When carrying out a daily walkaround check, you should mark “nil” next to the item you have checked if no defect is found.

If you would like to keep a record of your daily walkaround checks on a comprehensive CMS system, you can get in touch with us today for a demonstration.

Can I still drive if I find a defect in my HGV?

If your HGV is still roadworthy and safe to use, then you should still be able to drive it. However, if you detect a major defect, such as faults with the engine or brakes, then you should send your report directly to the necessary people within your company and you shouldn’t drive the vehicle. If you drive with a major defect, you could be fined by the DVSA for either not carrying out your daily walkaround checks, or failing to carry out responsible defect reporting. This is because driving the HGV may not only endanger your life, but other road users too.

Once you have reported your defects, you should keep a record of these reports. By investing in a digital checklist on an app or CMS system, this is not only a more efficient way to keep track of your defects, but it’s practical too.

How long should I keep my defect reports for?

All daily walkaround check reports should be kept for 15 months. With traditional paper checklists, it can be easy to misplace or damage the defect reports, making it harder for fleet managers and drivers to keep an accurate record.

If you are currently using paper checklists to carry out your daily walkaround checks of an HGV or PSV, consider moving towards a CMS system so that all of your reports can be stored and sent directly to the people who need to assess them.

Truck driver inspecting wheels during safety check

Paper reporting vs. Digital: which is best?

Paper checklists are still a common choice amongst HGV drivers when carrying out a daily vehicle check, and have been used for years. However, paper checklists can be easily misplaced and damaged, making it harder to keep them to hand for 15 months. By carrying out your daily checks on an app, you can quickly and automatically send your reports to where they need to be, and you can report your defects in real time. A CMS system is much more streamlined, allowing you to store data that can be easily accessed.

With a CMS system and app like ours at AssetGo, you can access historical reports if you ever get pulled over for a roadside check, allowing you to prove your compliance easily. With everything in one place, you no longer need to worry about misplacing your paper checklists. You can find out more about our daily walkaround checklist features here.

How AssetGo can help

Our app here at AssetGo allows you to access your reports and records directly from your phone or tablet, with all data stored in a safe and secure CMS system. Checklist questions can be reordered to suit your fleet, and start and finish times are tracked to monitor the standard of the daily walkaround checks. Drivers can also report accidents and incidents in real-time, and their location can be shared with their fleet manager should they encounter a problem.

If you would like to find out more about carrying out an efficient HGV daily check, or to request a demo of our system, you can get in touch with us today.

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