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Vehicle Inspections: Ensuring Roadworthiness and Compliance

When you’re a transport manager, your main task is to run a fleet of safe, compliant trucks and vehicle inspections play a leading role in doing so. As such, knowing the rules back to front is vital and, in this guide, we look at the key components involved that ensure you comply with UK laws and run roadworthy vehicles.

Why are vehicle inspections important? Well, carrying out regular inspections is wise for a myriad of reasons, with the first being safety – for your drivers and other road users. Additionally, it lowers the risk of downtime and costly mechanical repairs and ensures that you run a compliant ship.

The Key Components of Vehicle Inspections

Transport managers looking to implement a vehicle inspection structure for their fleets need to include the following key components.

  • Preventive Maintenance – By carrying out routine daily checks as standard, you and your drivers can help to prevent minor and potential issues before they become real problems.
  • Routine Inspections – Daily checks can also be complemented by scheduled inspections that serve to assess the overall roadworthiness and condition of your fleet.
  • MOT Tests – Naturally, transport managers also have a duty to ensure that mandatory yearly MOT tests are carried out to ensure their fleets meet the required safety and environmental standards.

Implementing Your Inspection Routine

When putting together your inspection routine, there are a few steps that you need to cover to ensure everything goes smoothly. The following should be included:

  • An inspection checklist that covers every crucial area of each vehicle that needs to be inspected, such as the brakes, tyres, lights, and so on.
  • An inspection schedule that denotes the dates of all routine inspections and preventative maintenance checks that need to be carried out.
  • A system where all vehicle inspections are performed by those qualified or trained to do so.

Keeping Records of Your Inspections

Documenting all inspections is vital for compliance reasons, with the following steps needing to be taken to ensure they are ready if the authorities need to see them.

  • Keeping all inspection report documentation in a clear and orderly manner.
  • Keeping detailed logs of any work relating to repairs, maintenance, or replacement of components carried out after an inspection.
  • Securely storing all inspection/MOT certificates in line with legal requirements.

Making Use of Available Technology

Modern technology now exists to help you keep on top of your vehicle inspection obligations as a transport manager. As such, it’s a good idea to use the following to ensure that you stick to your inspection schedules.

  • Inspection software can be used to schedule, perform, and document your vehicle inspections in an organised way.
  • Technology also exists to allow for real-time monitoring that gives you up-to-the-minute information on your fleet’s condition.

Getting Your Team On Board

Getting your team up to speed in terms of understanding their obligations when it comes to vehicle inspections is crucial. With this in mind, you should conduct training programs for both drivers and maintenance staff to show how they should be carried out and reinforce their importance.

If you run a larger fleet with multiple drivers and maintenance crews, an awareness campaign can also serve to foster a culture of compliance and safety with your organisation.

Be Ready for the Authorities When They Call

As a transport manager, you can be called upon at any time by the authorities and when you are, you need to be ready. That means having all your inspection documentation easily accessible and properly organised.

If you’re unsure whether your current system is legally compliant, it may be necessary to speak with expert consultants who can assess your processes and see where they may be improved.

Strive to Improve Through Feedback

Another effective way to assess the efficacy of your inspection process is by talking to the people who carry them out – your team. That’s why you should have a defined system in place that allows your drivers and inspection crews to provide feedback.

This is an ongoing process of improvement, so be sure to carry out regular reviews of your inspection practices to highlight any improvements that can be made.

Keeping On Top of This Important Task

Carrying out regular vehicle inspections as we’ve described, is an essential part of making sure you run a safe fleet that complies with all legal requirements. By introducing a robust inspection routine, which is meticulously documented, you do much to ensure the roadworthiness of your trucks.

This also sets your company or organisation as one with a great reputation for safety, compliance and responsibility on the road.

About the author

Jonathan Gilder

Jonathan Gilder

Head of Training and Transport
Jonathan is a distinguished NRI HGV Instructor accredited by RTITB, with certifications in IOSH Managing Safely, RTITB Lift Truck Instruction, and ROSPA Assured PAT Testing. His expertise extends to EdI Level 3 NVQ Assessing, Btec Level 2 in Transportation of Goods by Road, and he is a skilled Trainer in Driver CPC and Incident Investigation from GH Safety.

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