Trailer daily walkaround checks: how to report defects and damage

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Updated 24/03/2023

Some of the most important checks HGV drivers need to make are in and around their trailer, as well as the interior and exterior of the HGV cab. Any vehicle defects found should be reported as soon as possible and, if the defect renders their vehicle unsafe to drive, they should not drive the HGV or LGV until it has been rectified. But how do you report defects in an effective and efficient way?

In this guide, we will explore who defects should be reported to once you have completed your daily walkaround checks, whether or not it is a legal requirement to carry out these checks, and what can happen if your HGV or LGV is pulled over. Also, we will explain how AssetGo can help, and why you should switch from paper checklists to fully accessible digital checklists, where all your fleet’s data can be stored automatically.

Why should trailer defects be reported during daily walkaround checks?

It is incredibly important that drivers carry out daily walkaround checks before they drive their HGV, especially if there is a trailer attached. By carrying out these daily vehicle checks and ensuring there are no safety defects, the driver can make sure they are DVSA compliant. However, completed daily vehicle checklists must be stored securely, and a defective HGV must not be driven.

There are various checks that must be carried out to make certain that a trailer is safe, both internally and externally. The curtain and load straps within the trailer should be securely fastened, in good condition, and not worn and ripped. Doors, hinges and locks should also be secure, and the trailer should never exceed its load capacity. Externally, the tyres must be in good condition and stable, the licence plate should be clearly visible, and all lights should be working correctly.

Carrying out a daily inspection of your trailer can also protect other road users from potential hazards, as well as the driver of the HGV. You can find out more about the various trailer checks you need to carry out in our previous guide here.

White truck driving on the asphalt road in a spring rural landscape at sunset

Who should I report my trailer defects to?

Once you have carried out your daily vehicle checks and you notice a defect, you should not drive your vehicle and report it to your fleet manager or the responsible person within your company. If you have not noticed a defect during your daily checks, but become aware of one while driving, you should pull up at the next safest opportunity and get in touch with the relevant person as soon as possible and report an in-service defect. Each driver of an HGV in a day must carry out these daily walkaround checks, not just the first driver of the day.

If the defect is major, such as a worn tyre or brake fault, the vehicle must not be driven until the issue is resolved. If the defect seems minor, but you aren’t sure, you should get a second opinion before setting off. All defects should be reported easily within your company, which can take time with paper checklists. By using the AssetGo app, you can carry out your daily checks with ease using our digital checklists, and all records can be stored securely and easily accessed.

To request a free demo of our expert system to improve your defect reporting, you can get in touch with us on our website here.

Is it a legal requirement to complete daily trailer checks?

Yes, it is a legal requirement for HGVs and LGVs with trailers attached to carry out daily walkaround checks of their entire vehicle. Even if there is no trailer attached, drivers must still check their cab. Failure to complete these checks can result in a fine or penalty points on the driver’s licence. Drivers must also be able to locate the checks they have carried out should they be pulled over by the DVSA.

Like other road vehicles, HGV and LGV drivers must ensure that their vehicle is free from damage or defects that could impact the safety of themselves and other road users. For instance, driving with a defective tyre is illegal amongst car, van and HGV drivers alike. The police can impose penalty points and a fine for each defective tyre they find.

Truck driver holding clipboard his inspecting daily checklist safety of a truck wheels and tires

What happens if the DVSA pull my HGV or LGV over?

The DVSA have the authority to pull over any HGV or commercial vehicle for a routine roadside inspection. They will check to see whether your vehicle and the attached trailer are safe to be on the road. They will check for any obvious defects and will make sure that the trailer has not exceeded the maximum load capacity. The DVSA will also ask for tachograph records, and they may ask to see your daily checklist to see whether you have completed your checks.

DVSA officers have the right to issue prohibitions to vehicles deemed unsafe to drive; this means that the driver cannot drive the vehicle until the issue is fixed. Prohibitions can be immediate or delayed. It is important that drivers are able to locate their daily vehicle checks should they be asked to present them during a roadside check, a task which can be difficult if they are paper checklists and have been misplaced. This is where the AssetGo app comes in handy.

How AssetGo can help

By using the AssetGo app, you have easy access to pre-made checklists to help you complete your daily trailer checks with ease, allowing you to report any defects you find efficiently and effectively. All driver and vehicle data, including the results of your daily vehicle checks, is stored securely on a CMS system, which can be easily accessed should you be pulled over by the DVSA. You can even customise your checklists by moving questions around to suit the needs of your fleet, creating a more streamlined process.

To find out more, you can get in touch with our expert team today.

Common queries

How long should I keep my trailer defect reports for?

Daily walkaround checks carried out on an HGV and its trailer should be kept for 15 months.

How long should daily trailer checks take?

On average, daily walkaround checks take around 15 minutes, but this can depend on a number of factors, such as how many defects are found and how large the vehicle is.

Do towed trailers need the same checks as HGV trailers?

No, trailers towed by other vehicles such as cars do not follow the same compliance procedures as HGV and LGV trailers. However, it is still highly advised that you check the condition of your trailer and whether it is coupled properly before you set off on your journey.

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