There are many reasons to perform daily or pre-journey checks;

It is a legal requirement under the Section 19 Permit

  1. To ensure the vehicle is in safe and suitable condition to drive
  2. To protect the driver from accusations of damage that was pre-existing
  3. To protect the driver from the liabilities they can be prosecuted for; faults such as bald tyres
  4. To avoid a disrupted journey from avoidable problems such as faulty indicators or no windscreen wash
  5. A record of checks and subsequent actions will be requested in the event of an accident.

Section 19 Permit regulations from the government state,

‘Daily walk around checks must be undertaken each time before a vehicle is used and are checks on things like engine oil, brakes, tyre pressures, warning instruments, lights, windscreen washers and wipers. They’re usually undertaken by drivers.’ www.gov.uk/section-19-and-22-permits-maintenance-arrangements – point 10.2

Annexe 8 of the DVSA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness shows an annotated drawing of a coach as a guide for PSV drivers to what should be checked before every journey, however, as we frequently learn during our Minibus Compliance Courses that many minibus drivers and school buisness managers have their own ideas of what should be checked before every journey, or at least every day.

So the question is, what is best practice for minibus daily walk around checks? 

Daily walk around checks or pre-journey checks?

Many of our school customers comment that to conduct an extensive check before every journey is untenable, especially if the vehicle has not been used for other trips and the same driver remains with the vehicle. In this case a daily check may suffice.

However, if the drivers are changing throughout the day or the minibus has been left in an unsecure location a pre-journey check is advisable to ensure nothing has been damaged since the vehicle was last used. Drivers are responsible for the vehicles once out on the roads and will receive fines and points on their licences for issues such as bald tyres, regardless of who the vehicle belongs to, so it is important for the driver to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy for their own protection.

Conducting a daily walk around check rather than pre-journey check is better than nothing and means that your school transport management will be compliant according to the regulations as set out by your Section 19 Permit, and best practice, but drivers do need to take responsibility to protect themselves.

How do you know what needs checking?

There is guidance on the government and RoSPA websites on what to check on your minibus but our ADI driver trainers who deliver our Minibus Compliance Course recognised the need for drivers and business managers to create their own list of priorities as to what should be on the daily walk around list, so importance of conducting this check every day becomes inherent and is completely ‘owned’ by them.

We ask them to name their top twelve checks on our blank list before actually going and inspecting one of Castle’s Minibuses. Our downloadable walk around checklist is a free resource to get your started with creating your own checklist for daily walk around checks.

It may seem odd that we are not telling delegates what to look for – but this is what most teachers are expected to do when they don’t have the training they need to complete a simple walk around check. If you need some pointers, they’re below.

The daily walk around checklist

As a starting point, the DVSA advice to PSV drivers is to include:

  • Lights and indicators, including brakes
  • Tyre tread and fixings
  • Windscreen wipers and washers, including fluid levels
  • Horn
  • Exhaust smoke
  • Warning lamps
  • Fuel, oil and waste leaks
  • Exterior body condition
  • Brakes, including air brake leaks
  • Steering
  • Mirrors and glass
  • Doors and exits
  • Interior
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher

So, whether it is a daily walk-round or a prejourney check it is important it is completed with an appreciation of why it is so important, not just for compliance but, for the safety of the passengers, other road users and the legal protection of the driver and ultimately the school’s reputation.

Please download and copy this checklist to aid with your Section 19 Permit compliance. Feel free to share your own ideas for inclusion on the daily walk around checks with us on social media. You can find us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.