Today’s commercial vehicles contain literally thousands of moving parts, many of which are subject to wear and tear that can cause them to fail at any moment in time. Even components with no moving parts are likely to fail due to constant vibration and motion of the vehicle. And what many drivers fail to think about daily is that failures of random components can cause accidents that can prove deadly for a driver and anyone else on the road at the time.
A driver’s only defence against deadly crashes is to drive with great care and awareness of everything around, including what’s in front, behind, and beside their vehicle and pay attention to how all crucial systems are functioning. If anything is not feeling right, it’s up to the driver to get the trouble investigated by a professional. The driver should not continue with the trip if a problem is detected.
Pre and Post Inspections can eliminate many of the trip problems if they are performed properly. Unfortunately, these inspections sometimes become too routine for drivers. We’ve heard comments such as “Aw, I checked it yesterday and everything was fine.” Or “Today’s vehicles are so well built they last for years.” “Once a week is fine, this rig is in good shape.”
But as we mentioned earlier, components fail at any time, often without warning even when inspections are done conscientiously. That’s because many parts’ life expectancy is not often reached in the real world of pounding the pavement. Vehicles wear out over a period of years. Components wear out long before the commercial vehicle.
It is extremely important for all HGV and LGV fleets to inform its drivers how important it is to perform their daily inspections with objectivity and great care. Anything in doubt must be reported on to the fleet and looked at by an expert before taking to the motorway. Even new vehicles experience sudden issues.
For instance, depending on the terrain you are traversing, brake adjustments can change daily. You can’t always depend on automatic slack adjusters to take up the improper brake adjustment. Lives could be at risk in the event of a serious accident. And for drivers, your career may be over, and you could even face charges for operating an unsafe vehicle.
When a heavily laden commercial vehicle travelled from Canada to New York State, on the downward side of the bridge at Niagara Falls, it ploughed into a car containing a family waiting in line to clear the border. All four occupants of that car were killed, including two children. The driver of the tractor-trailer went to prison because he failed to check brake adjustments. The onus was not on the owner or a technician or shop.
That hard truth should inspire commercial vehicle drivers to complete their daily inspections with great care. Lives cannot be brought back. And the remorse a driver must feel never goes away.
Of course, not all deficiencies of components are easily detectable. Drivers must really inspect their vehicle with care. Daily inspections are compulsory because they are important for saving lives. Never take them lightly. And never take them for granted. Instruct your drivers to always protect themselves and everyone around them by being serious about their daily inspections. We do them to protect everyone.
Post Trip Inspections can also reveal issues that need to be reported to the fleet so they can be corrected before the vehicle runs another trip. Impress upon your drivers that there are so many variables in any trip that can combine to end in tragedy. Don’t let it happen to you or your drivers. No life is worth fudging a daily inspection.
And repair shops must do their part by recommending replacement of suspected deficient parts. And if the fleet or owner refuses the repair or replacement, the shop must document the issue. They have responsibility for covering their assets. After all, not everyone in commercial transport exhibits scruples. Everyone needs to get on board.
Every vehicle has components and systems that can fail at any time. Everyone’s last line of defence against disaster is you. Concentrate on your Pre and Post Trip inspections.
Trust a shop that’s powered by EMDECS – it helps manage all of the above. You’ll be glad you did. And safer too.