Fleets need to adopt a range of strategies to keep driver ‘walkaround’ checks interesting otherwise complacency quickly sets in, says FleetCheck.
The company reports that it regularly sees examples of businesses where the risk management effectiveness of the checks has declined over time because of familiarity.
Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “The walkaround check is very much at the frontline of risk management for fleets, whether it is a simpletyres, 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.”
Golding believes that the solution lay in a combination of incentives and enforcement, ensuring that driver interest was maintained.
He explained: “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 level, 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.”
FleetCheck has just launched its own Walkaround Check App. Designed for HGVs, vans, buses and coaches, it creates the means to schedule, carry out, confirm, follow-up and audit a range of inspections from daily walkarounds to formal weekly or monthly checks.
Golding said: “Using an electronic means to carry out the walkaround check does make it 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.”
The Walkaround Check App integrates with FleetCheck’s fleet management software, which is in use by more than 500 customers operating 50,000 vehicles.