Maintaining a vehicle to roadworthy standards should be a priority for anyone operating commercial vehicles. But while HGV operations are governed by O Licencing, there is far less legislation for vans and often they aren't the main focus of the business. The importance of checking vehicles DAILY before they leave base can't be underestimated - for the benefit of the driver, vehicle and employer. Mistakes can be costly for everyone so putting effective compliance processes in place is vital.
FTA's Van Excellence scheme has a code of practice that specifically requires the completion of daily pre-use checks. Members of the scheme must prove they have a structure in place for drivers to record identified defects, and these must be assessed by a competent person so they can be rectified as required.
Key areas that require attention in a daily walk round check are tyres, lights, steering, brakes and mirrors. These can be quickly and easily checked before setting off, giving reassurance that the vehicle is roadworthy and has no obvious defects. Employers should also put measures in place to check their staff are fit to drive. Licences should be regularly checked and employees should be asked to declare if they are taking medication or have medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive. Both prescription and illegal drugs can impact this ability, as can alcohol, and it is the employer's responsibility to be aware of any issues.
Policies around the use of mobile phones, eating in the vehicle and keeping it clean and tidy are all important elements that should be built into driver policies. Membership of the Van Excellence scheme helps employers put these policies in place and share best practice with others in the industry.
Find out more about FTA's Van Excellence scheme.
(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)