The walkaround check is very much at the frontline of risk management for fleets, whether it is a simple tyres, levels and lights check for a company car driver or the more formal and controlled checks that commercial vehicle drivers have to complete under VOSA regulations.
What these checks have in common is that they are prone to complacency over time, that drivers start to tick the boxes without really looking properly at the areas they are supposed to be inspecting.
It’s simply a case of overfamiliarity – a very human problem – and we regularly see examples of businesses where the risk management effectiveness of the checks has declined over time because of this issue.
What is the solution? In our experience, it lies in a combination of incentives and enforcement, ensuring that driver interest was maintained.
At one level, you need to underline from a corporate point of view that these checks are part of the responsibilities of each driver and that you take them very seriously. Failing to carry them out should be a disciplinary offence and there should be an audit system.
At another, you can add interest to the checks by using communications such as e-mail and social media to remind drivers why it is important to carry out these checks, and the safety issues that can arise as the result of a failure to do so. You need to keep the whole subject fresh.
Of course, another solution is using electronic means to carry out the check. At CV Show last month, we launched our new Walkaround Check App, which provides a simple yet robust way of carrying out essential commercial vehicle safety checks. Designed for HGVs, vans, buses and coaches, it creates the means to schedule, carry out, confirm, follow-up and audit all kinds of inspections from daily walkarounds to formal weekly or monthly checks.
Carrying out checks this way does make life easier and we believe that our app is probably one of the most robust, simple-to-use and effective electronic methods of replacing an old school manual commercial vehicle safety process available today.