This is a problem that crops up every now and then for the drivers that I look after and although many think it is not that serious
there have been cases where drivers have been fined up to £5000.
I don’t know about you but having to fork out £5000 is pretty serious to me.
It has been coming up more and more over the last few years as more vehicles with digital tachos are on the roads. Basically part of
your obligation as a driver is to complete a walkaround check of your vehicle before taking it out on the road. (Now I won’t get into
the full details of the walkaround just now but if you do want any clarification on this just take a look at this post on daily walkaround checks.)
Ok so here’s the problem – You need to perform a walkround check for safety reasons and you need to record and report any defects to the operator. That’s fine and normally you would use a “Driver Defect Book” to do this. These books have carbon copies so you are able to present this as a record if you are stopped at the roadside. This is where it really becomes a grey area, that report alone is not good enough to prove you have checked the vehicle, you could have just ticked the boxes. What the authorities are looking for now is proof on your tachograph that you actually spent time carrying out the checks. If they can not see the time recorded as other work before starting to drive then they will check the last 28 days and get the calculator out to work out just how much to fine you, and like I said earlier some fines have been as much as £5000.
So here’s how you make sure that you have covered your back. It is really easy and just a case of getting in the habit. When you first go to the vehicle insert your card in the tachograph head and switch the mode to other work. Now carry out you walkaround checks and make sure to take enough time to do so.Again this is a grey area with no set time so make sure you do record enough time and use your best judgement, DON’T be tempted to skip the checks and just record one minute because you are in a hurry. I would always recommend taking at least five minutes to complete your walkaround checks and that’s if no defects are found.