Fleets need to ensure that drivers are carrying out walkaround checks on their company vehicles, warns FleetCheck.
The fleet software specialist says that it is seeing increasing evidence that more and more drivers are treating the essential inspections as a “tick box” exercise.
Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “These checks should be carried out on a daily basis, ideally, and so it is perhaps inevitable that some degree of fatigue sets in. Drivers may just tick the boxes rather than carry out a genuine inspection and do so for very human reasons – perhaps they are late to a meeting or the weather is poor.
“However, it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that these checks are being done, especially if there is evidence that drivers’ attention is drifting over time.”
A typical giveaway, Peter said, would be if a vehicle was taken in for a service and a tyre tread depth were reported to be below the legal limit or the standard depth used for replacement on the fleet, even though the driver’s recent checks recorded them as OK.
“This is a very clear flag that the driver concerned isn’t taking their checks seriously or doesn’t understand how to carry them out properly. It is the kind of thing that may well be picked up by the authorities in the event of an accident and subsequent investigation.”
Peter said that a simple but effective measure was to make it a part of your company risk management policy to watch a driver conduct a check every year or six months, effectively auditing their walkaround skills.
“One of the issues we have identified is that, if you ask drivers to do a walkaround check, it is not uncommon to find that some don’t know how to open the bonnet and check essential fluid levels, for example.
“Watching the employee in action is a good way of underlining the fact that you take this issue very seriously. Certainly, it is a simple way of addressing the fatigue that we are seeing on an anecdotal basis.”
FleetCheck launched a Walkaround Check App for fleet vehicles earlier this year which creates the means to schedule, carry out, confirm, follow-up and audit all kinds of inspections for cars, HGVs, vans, buses and coaches from daily walkarounds to formal weekly or monthly checks.
It delivers a completely paper-free checking process, instant visibility of missed checks, uploading of relevant photos from drivers, bespoke checking for specialist equipment and automated mileage collection to enable accurate forward maintenance planning.