There are a number of essential checks and tests that any vehicle must pass in order for it to be driven. In the world of the HGV these checks are vital in order to be able to prove that a vehicle is compliant, or fit for purpose, and that it is roadworthy.
As with any vehicle, an HGV must have a valid MOT and regular services, but in addition, an HGV must also be subject to two further essential assessments:
The purpose of these checks and inspections is to ensure that we have safer drivers, safer vehicles and safer journeys for all. A DVSA guide to daily walkaround checks and inspection requirements can be found here.
Daily checks should include a comprehensive list of vehicle parts, electrical connections, brake lines, trailer coupling, and the condition of reflectors, windows and number plates, horn and lights. This list is not exhaustive and should be considered as a skeleton on which to build the full body of checks. A full list of the checks that need to be carried out on a daily basis can be found here along with forms for recording any defects if found.
Often referred to as HGV 6-weekly inspections, these inspections are a legal requirement, the terms of which will be set out during the application process to the Traffic Commissioners office. HGV inspections are required to take place on a regular basis. The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) sets out the following useful table:
When applying for your operator’s licence and setting the frequency of your HGV inspections it is imperative that you consider the conditions that your vehicles will be operating under. If the conditions will be tough and more hard wearing, then you should apply for a shorter interval between inspections. The equivalent annual mileage should also be taken in to consideration.
Essentially, the interval between inspections depends on a number of factors, namely the age, condition and mileage of the vehicle and trailer. The DVSA strongly encourages any vehicle that has been out of service for some time should always be inspected before use. In addition, any vehicle and trailer that is more than 12 years old should have no longer than a 6-week gap between inspections.
In the 2018 DVSA publication “Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness (Commercial goods and passenger carrying vehicles)”, the Traffic Commissioners Sarah Bell and Kevin Rooney state:
“We strongly encourage you to take a proactive, evidence-based approach to setting inspection frequencies…Six-weekly is a good starting point for many operators, but this should be regularly reviewed based on the results of inspections and the performance of your vehicles”.
If an operator can prove to the DVSA Traffic Commissioners that they can run vehicles safely for longer periods, up to 13 weeks, without any serious defects and that any defects are minor and are rectified immediately, then an extension to the length of time between inspections will be allowed. In order to arrange this, operators should write to their Traffic Commissioners, providing evidence to justify an extension between inspections.
The Traffic Commissioners must always be satisfied with your company’s system of checking and inspecting vehicles.
To access the DVSA guide, click here.
When you book your vehicle in for an HGV 6-week inspection, you’re essentially booking your vehicle in for a preventative maintenance check – keeping an eye on the condition of the vehicle and spotting small defects before they become larger and often more costly problems.
Covering all aspects of the vehicle from steering to suspension, brakes to bearings, mirrors, seatbelts, the windscreen, tyres, emissions, wiring, lights etc. the inspection is designed to ensure that at any time a vehicle could pass its MOT.
An example of a HGV inspection record is shown here, taken from the DVSA 2018 Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness (Commercial goods and passenger carrying vehicles).
The DVSA 2018 Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness (Commercial goods and passenger carrying vehicles) also acknowledges that developments in technology offer operators help in meeting licence responsibilities.
For example, smartphone apps now exist that can help with driver defect reporting. The DVSA has reported that between half and one third of all prohibitable defects that it finds at the roadside could have been prevented if the driver had carried out an effective walkaround check and acting on any findings.
A helpful series of compliance tools are available from the DVSA for all operators and transport managers.
Underpinning any good business is the careful planning of every aspect of operations. This includes the planning of safety inspections of individual vehicles, which must be planned six months in advance. There should also be an effective monitoring system for drivers daily walkaround checks. This not only ensures that all checks are being carried out properly, but also helps to ensure the effective management of a fleet.
HGV safety inspections can be recorded on an electronic device and must be kept for at least 15 months as part of the vehicle’s maintenance history. Any records relating to a vehicle must be complete and must also be made available on request for inspection at the vehicle’s operating centre.
The system used to store records of 6-week HGV inspections (or other frequency) must be secure and the person undertaking the inspection must be technically competent and operationally aware of the relevant safety standards.
It should always be remembered that a driver is legally responsible for the condition of their vehicle whilst it is in use. It is just as important that a driver conducts a daily walkaround check as it is that they drive their vehicle responsibly.
Where a vehicle is hired, loaned or leased, it is the user’s responsibility to make sure that the vehicle is in a roadworthy condition and has all the required certification to be used on the road. Therefore, it is essential that the driver carries out a daily walkaround check before use.
The team at MHF (UK) Ltd are available to carry out HGV 6-week inspections (or other frequency), with same day or next day appointment availability.
Costing £130 plus VAT and usually taking two hours to complete, our safety inspections are of the highest calibre.
We also offer brake tests for your vehicle at an additional cost of £5 plus VAT per axle.
As a responsible provider of HGVs available for sale or for hire, MHF (UK) Ltd offer a comprehensive vehicle inspection service. It is important to remember that operational needs must not override safety considerations. HGV safety inspections must be programmed to follow a time-based pattern to ensure that vehicles remain in a safe condition to use on and off the road in order to protect operators, drivers and the public.