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Keeping up with vehicle safety and compliance checks

By Kenny Rutt
Motor Risk Manager

Businesses are legally obliged to make sure that all company vehicles are kept safe and roadworthy.

Businesses that operate vehicles, will no doubt be aware of the serious consequences that could arise from a road traffic incident.

Insurance claims, personal injury, investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, unlimited fines, driving licence bans, corporate manslaughter charges and even prison sentences are all potential consequences of failure to comply with vehicle compliance duties. It’s therefore vital to ensure you have done all that is necessary to fulfil your obligations and that you can prove it.

Having a clear procedure for reporting faults can help prevent serious incidents and is also valuable in monitoring how effective your safety measures are. To do this, one such legal requirement is to carry out daily vehicle checks to help identify any potential problems. Drivers will need instruction and/or training on carrying out appropriate checks and reporting any problems. Employers normally find it helpful to give drivers a daily checklist to sign off for their vehicles - such as checking that tyres are properly inflated.

Drivers must be able to report defects to someone with enough authority to make sure that action can be taken, and anything that may affect the roadworthiness of the vehicle must be reported and recorded (even if it is put right before the vehicle is used). If defects are found then there must be a written report made, which should as a minimum include:

  • Date
  • Vehicle registration or identification mark
  • Details of the defect or symptoms
  • Driver's name
  • Name, position and date of the person who rectified the defect (this could be the driver)

If nothing is found, then a “Nil” defect report should be kept until at least the next scheduled service.

Vehicle maintenance and safety inspections

Vehicle maintenance and safety inspections, other than the daily checks, are normally conducted based on time or mileage, with a maintenance scheduling system, planner or wall chart used to identify inspection dates.

Safety inspections should be conducted in line with the vehicle handbook which will note the inspection details and frequency. Any remedial work carried out following the inspection must be recorded, to include:

  • Name of owner/operator
  • Date of inspection
  • Vehicle identity (registration mark/trailer number)
  • Make and model
  • Odometer (mileage recorder) reading, if appropriate
  • A list of all the manual items to be inspected
  • Details of any defects
  • Name of inspector
  • Full details of any repair work and who did it
  • A signed declaration that any defects have been repaired satisfactorily and the vehicle is now in a safe roadworthy condition

Anyone carrying out a safety inspection must be competent to assess the significance of defects. There must also be a system to ensure that an unroadworthy vehicle is removed from service until deemed fit for use. Records of safety inspections, any repairs and the repairer, should be kept for at least 15 months.

Tips to encourage and ease compliance

As one of the UK’s leading insurers of business vehicles, we know that two of the biggest issues that transport managers face are making sure that drivers carry out the daily checks and reports and keeping up with all the paperwork required for compliance with legislation.

Some things that can help:

  • Implement thorough driver training on how to carry out vehicle checks
  • Provide drivers with a handbook that tackles issues such as vehicle load, vehicle checks and reporting accidents
  • Motivate or incentivise drivers to carry out checks and reporting in a timely manner
  • Consider ways to make it easier to carry out checks/reports, such as a mobile telematics solution with step-by-step checklists and report generation

The easier you can make it for drivers, the more likely they are to comply.

A free offer for QBE customers

We’ve teamed up with CheckedSafe, one of our approved risk management partners, to offer QBE business insurance customers a free 60-day trial of their mobile app defect reporting, compliance management and fleet maintenance system, with benefits including:

Geo Tag - CheckedSafe uses the GPS on the driver’s mobile device to pinpoint their location when they carry out the daily walk around check. The map location is included in the resulting report.

Bespoke Checklist - CheckedSafe has DVSA recommended checklists, plus all checks can be made bespoke and a checklist created for any vehicle or piece of equipment.

No Signal - No Problem - Checks can be conducted regardless of wi-fi connection or phone signal. All checks are stored on the device and uploaded automatically to the compliance management system when the driver is in signal area.

Click here for more information and to start your free 60-day trial.  

Risk management services for QBE customers

QBE helps businesses build resilience through risk management and insurance.

With almost a century of insuring commercial vehicles, 50 years’ experience in insuring bus and coach fleets, and 30 years as the UK leader in minibus insurance, QBE is fully committed to the motor sector and proactively helping customers to manage risk and drive down claims. This approach has made QBE a name to trust in commercial motor insurance.

QBE customers can access self-assessment questionnaires and a library of risk management material, along with a panel of approved partners who offer training, e-learning and other services at specially reduced rates. You can find more information in our Motor risk management service offerings brochure, and find out more about how QBE helps businesses to manage risk here.

Need to claim? Report it early

Finally, a reminder that if you have an incident and need to make an insurance claim, it’s important that you report it as soon as possible, ideally the same day. Reporting a claim early can save time and help you to receive any claim payments faster, as well as allowing us to help mitigate the cost of third-party claims.