Published on Tuesday 25 July 2017 in Van News
In the association's first blog for Vanarama, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) takes a look at the importance of pre-use checks when you're about to drive your van.
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 or you head off to your next job 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 – from the fleet manager to tradespeople, checks could save you the hassle of fines and legal action.
What should you check?
Key areas that require attention in a pre-use check are tyres, lights, steering, brakes and mirrors. These can be quickly and easily checked before setting off, giving you reassurance that the vehicle is roadworthy and has no obvious defects.
- Make sure a pre-use check is part of your daily routine – simple vehicle defects can put points on your driving licence and threaten your livelihood.
- No windscreen washer fluid? The offence carries a £50 fixed penalty – make sure it's topped up before you drive.
- Bald tyre? Check before you drive or you'll face a £100 fixed penalty, 3 points on your licence (per tyre) and your van will be taken off the road
- Paperwork piled up on the dashboard? If it obstructs your view, it could lead to a £50 fixed penalty – stay on the right side of the law, keep your van tidy and the view to the road clear at all times.
Is there anything else you should bear in mind?
For employers, measures should be put 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 also important elements that should be built into driver policies and your pre-use check routine.
For more information on the Freight Transport Association (FTA), please visit www.fta.co.uk.