A pre-use vehicle check should be an essential part of any effective roadworthiness strategy. That is why it has always been a mandatory requirement of the Operator Licensing System for truck operators and why it should be adopted by conscientious, responsible van operators. The importance of checking vehicles every day before they leave base cannot be underestimated; mistakes can be costly for everyone, so a rigorous compliance process 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; these must then be assessed by a competent person, so they can be rectified as required.
The team at Van Excellence recently launched a pre-use defect check app, which is available to download from the PlayStore and Apple Store. The app mimics the simplicity of a paper form, coupled with the ability of a smart device to share the results instantaneously with the operator, including photographs of any identified defect. If you are interested in trialling the app, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Key areas that require attention in a daily walk round check are the 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.
Membership of the Van Excellence scheme helps employers put these policies in place and share best practice with others in the industry. Take the time before the van goes out on the road to do these checks, and you and your customers can be reassured that your operation is as safe as possible.