Increasingly at FleetCheck, we’re seeing evidence that drivers are treating essential walkaround checks on their company vehicles as a “tick box” exercise.

As you’ll know, these inspections should be carried out on a daily basis, ideally, and so it is perhaps inevitable that some degree of fatigue sets in. Drivers may just go through the motions rather than carry out a genuine inspection and do so for very human reasons – perhaps they are late to a meeting or the weather is poor.

However, it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that these checks are being done, especially if there is evidence that drivers’ attention is drifting over time.

A typical giveaway is if a vehicle is taken is for a service and a tyre tread depth is reported to be below the legal limit or the standard depth used for replacement on the fleet, even though the driver’s recent checks recorded them as OK. This is a very clear flag that the driver concerned isn’t taking their checks seriously or doesn’t understand how to carry them out properly. It is the kind of thing that may well be picked up by the authorities in the event of an accident and subsequent investigation.

How to solve the problem? A simple but effective measure is to make it a part of your company risk management policy to watch a driver conduct a check every year or six months, effectively auditing their walkaround skills.

For example, one of the issues we have identified is that, if you ask drivers to do a walkaround check, it is not uncommon to find that some don’t know how to open the bonnet and check essential fluid levels. Watching the employee in action is a good way of underlining the fact that you take this issue very seriously. Certainly, it is a simple way of addressing the fatigue that we are seeing on an anecdotal basis.

FleetCheck launched a Walkaround Check App for fleet vehicles earlier this year which creates the means to schedule, carry out, confirm, follow-up and audit all kinds of inspections for cars, HGVs, vans, buses and coaches from daily walkarounds to formal weekly or monthly checks.