Road safety depends in great part on roadworthiness, relying in turn on regular vehicle inspection. Third party vehicle inspection is enforced by road safety authorities. Vehicle inspections must be carried out periodically, or during sale of a vehicle.
Driver vehicle inspections should be carried out before each trip to ensure safety of drivers, passengers and other road users. Below is an adapted SA National Vehicle Testing Association (SA NVTA) roadworthiness checklist.
[ ] Tyre pressure is at manufacturer’s specification, regarding current load
[ ] Tyres have a consistent tread pattern over the full width
[ ] Tread depth is more than 1mm
[ ] Tyres are of same size and type on each axle
[ ] Dual wheel tyres do not make wall contact
[ ] Dual wheel tyres have no obstructions wedged between
[ ] Tyres are of correct sizes
[ ] Tyres on dual wheels make ground contact when the vehicle is unladen on a flat surface
[ ] Tyres have no lumps, cracks, bulges in side walls.
Braking systems checklist
[ ] Starting causes air pressure to recharge to maximum cut-out pressure
[ ] Brake pumping until pressure drops to half of system pressure, and low pressure indicator buzzes and flashes
[ ] Brake pedal holding causes air pressure to drop a little and then remain constant
[ ] Switching off and air pressure remains constant, does not continue to drop
[ ] Air tanks are drained daily
[ ] Brake adjustment is checked weekly by an authorised workshop
Vehicle steering checklist
[ ] Steering operates freely from lock to lock
[ ] Steering flee play is minimal
[ ] Steering wheel is not cracked, and not slippery
[ ] Power steering reservoir is full
[ ] Pipes snow no stone damage or leaks
[ ] Undercarriage is free of oil or fluid leaks
Windscreens , windows, wiper blades checklist
[ ] Windscreen is not cracked, clouded or obscured
[ ] Windscreen ‘control zone’ from above the steering wheel to under the sun visor, in the windscreen wiper area, is clean
[ ] Windscreen and window glass is clearly marked as safety glass
[ ] Main windscreen wiper and blades work when wet
[ ] Cracks in side windows do not obstruct a driver’s view of rear view mirrors
Vehicle lights and visibility checklist
[ ] Compulsory front lights are main beam, dipped beam, indicators, hazards, park lamps
[ ] Compulsory rear lights are brake lights, tail lights, park lights, number plate lamp, indicators, hazards, reverse lamps
[ ] Peripherals like reflective tape, reflectors and chevron boards are clean and clearly visible
[ ] Load signage like warning diamonds are displayed and correspond to load documents
Vehicle body checklist
[ ] Bolt-on accessories, bumpers, bars, mirrors, winches are secured
[ ] Storage racks, firefighting equipment are secured
[ ] Spare wheels, flaps, fasteners are secured
[ ] Emergency exits are clearly marked by signage.
The checklist is not exhaustive, and should be amended according to a risk assessment for each vehicle and operating conditions, like brake fluid, pneumatic equipment, oil checks, trailers, roads, dust, rain, mud, ice, loads, crime.
Truck and bus driving safety checklist
[ ] Rest before driving
[ ] Work legal hours only
[ ] Eat well and regularly
[ ] Stay fit
[ ] Inspect your vehicle before each trip
[ ] Ensure regular maintenance of brakes, tyres
[ ] Learn about the specifications of your vehicle
[ ] BE AWARE OF BLIND SPOTS. Other drivers are not aware of the size of your vehicle’s blind spots. Be vigilant in watching for vehicles in the ‘no zone’ where crashes are likely to occur. A third of crashes between large trucks and cars take place in the no visibility zone.
[ ] SLOW DOWN IN WORK ZONES. Almost a third of fatal crashes in work zones involved large trucks. Take your time going through work zones and give yourself plenty of room.
[ ] KEEP SAFE FOLLOWING DISTANCES. If you hit someone from behind, you are legally considered at fault, regardless of the situation. Large trucks require more stopping distances than other vehicles. Take advantage of your driving height, and anticipate braking situations. Maintain following distances of three seconds. Practice this distance by noting when a vehicle in front of you reaches a marker, saying slowly ‘mark, thousand and one, thousand and two, thousand and three’. You should reach the same marker on your count of ‘three’. The test is valid at all typical road speeds, provided that your count is about three seconds long from mark (zero) to ‘three’.
[ ] FASTEN SEAT BELTS. A major cause of truck and bus driver fatalities involves being ejected from vehicles.
[ ] DRIVE DEFENSIVELY. Avoid aggressive drivers. Two thirds of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, including aggression provoked by other drivers, named ‘road rage’, when acted out as speeding and reckless driving..
[ ] WORK TO HELP YOURSELF. Act professional on the road. Help stranded divers, notify traffic safety agencies of crashes, unsafe drivers, unsafe road conditions. Earn public respect for professional drivers.
[ ] TALK TO COLLEGUES. Identify unsafe equipment, conditions, and situations, and talk to colleagues, management and authorities about these.
• Sources; Fleetwatch. SA National Vehicle Testing Association. SA Arrive Alive.