The DVSA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness is a cornerstone of HGV fleet safety.

It gives drivers and operators a framework to plan, execute and record the preventative maintenance activities needed to keep vehicles safe and roadworthy.

The Guide is the first source of information about daily walkaround checks. It outlines things like:

  • When the checks should be completed (daily and at the start of the drivers’ shift (whichever is more frequent))
  • Who should complete the checks (a ‘competent person’ – typically the driver)
  • Who is responsible for vehicle safety – both operators (as part of their O licence commitment) and drivers (who are legally responsible for the condition of the vehicle they are driving)
  • What the checks should record, i.e. defects (where they occur) and the absence of defects (nil defects) to show that each check has been carried out
  • How defects should be reported & recorded (defects should be reported and resolved before the vehicle is signed off as roadworthy).

Read our posts demystifying The Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness for regular and first use checks, daily walkaround checks and using electronic systems, and other updates to the guide back in January of this year.

The DVSA also have guidance for HGV & PSV drivers and operators specifically on carrying out and recording daily walkaround checks.

New & Improved DVSA Walkaround Checks Guidance

Recently though, the DVSA made significant updates to this guidance.

They’ve improved the written guidance, making the actual checks that should be carried out much clearer.

The DVSA has also released a new video, showing drivers exactly how to carry out their daily checks and keep vehicles roadworthy:

Other changes to the guidance include additional recommended checks to help prevent bridge strikes and further guidance for reporting in-service defects

Bridge strikes and vehicle height

Research by Network Rail has found that, despite nearly 2000 bridge strikes in 2017-18 (almost 40 strikes every week), at a cost of around £23 million a year the UK taxpayer in repairs, 43% of lorry drivers admit to not measuring their vehicle before heading out on the road.

That has to change.

Bridge strikes are caused by a simple miscalculation or lapse in judgement. The bridge is too low for the vehicle to safely pass under it (or, to put it another way, the vehicle to too high to safely pass under the bridge). The number of bridge strikes in the UK has steadily risen over the past ten years though – so now the DVSA want to remind drivers to check their vehicle’s height.

The solution?

“By making sure drivers check, record and fully appreciate the height of both their vehicle and load height each day, it can help prevent drivers striking bridges which are not high enough”

Measuring & recording vehicle and load height should now be a standard part of daily walkaround checks for drivers.

Reporting in-service defects

The updated guidance stresses the importance of continued monitoring of vehicle safety throughout the journey. Daily walkaround checks aren’t a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ activity, and it is essential that drivers continue to monitor their vehicle, reporting and safety defects that occur during the journey.

This may result in roadside repairs, or recovery to a workshop to resolve ad-hoc defects. While drivers and operators could see this as a waste of time and resources in the middle of service, defects that occurs during a journey have the potential to cause accidents and injuries.

Defect discovery and resolution has to be a priority, in order to maintain roadworthiness and compliance – and avoid potential catastrophe down the line.

The new DVSA guidance to the exact checks that should be carried out daily is a clear, concise starting point for operators managing daily walkaround checks. With additional checks being added to the standard list, operators must make sure their method of recording defects stays up-to-date too.

A photocopy of a list of vehicle checks that was compiled when The Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness was first released won’t cut it for today’s drivers.

Using an application like Stream Check for defect reporting and maintenance management means that you can add and remove checks as the standard changes at just the click of a button.

Schedule your demo today to learn how Stream Check can help you to keep vehicle roadworthy and compliant.