Basic truck driver rights include working in a safe environment, which entails the right to drive a well-maintained vehicle. Employers are legally responsible for keeping their fleet vehicles in good shape to minimize the risk of road accidents and ensure compliance with trucking laws.
That said, what are the things that should be checked before a truck drives off the lot? Here are the most important parts that should be inspected regularly, if not every time in between dispatches:
The brakes are the first things that both truck drivers and maintenance personnel need to check before dispatch. Ensuring that they are working properly helps reduce the risk of accidents that are caused by faulty breaks, which often lead to multiple injuries and even death. At the very least, it can lead to cargo damage or loss, resulting in delivery delays and more problems in between.
For trucks that run on diesel, checking the diesel engine parts is essential to ensure proper engine performance, especially after every long-haul trip.
Leaving a truck with dirty filters (fuel filter, air filter, transmission filter, cabin air filter, etc.) makes it unable to perform at maximum capacity. Apart from that, dirty filters can also make trucks deteriorate faster.
A truck’s tires go through the most wear and tear among all parts of a truck, which is why checking them before and after each trip is imperative to keep them in optimum shape. Worn tire treads pose safety issues for all types of vehicles, but for a truck, tire treads with too much wear can easily result in the rig losing control on the road, especially during adverse weather conditions.
Apart from tire treads, air pressure is another crucial thing to check before every trip. Tires are designed to hold a certain amount of air with a 10% allowable variance (plus or minus), and even a small difference can have a big effect on the smoothness of the truck’s ride and the fuel economy of the truck.
5. Electrical systems and wiring
Headlights, flashers, turn signals, and brake lights: every truck’s electrical system should be checked every time. If even one light is not working, it can be a hazard when the truck is already on the road, especially when it’s the brake lights or turn signals that are not working.
When there are electrical components or wiring that show problems or general wear and tear, they should be fixed into a working condition before the truck is used on the road again.
Both drivers and maintenance personnel should make it a point to check for fluid leaks under the truck. Several fluids can leak from a vehicle, namely water, coolant, motor oil, gear oil, transmission fluid, and power-steering fluid. In any case, fluids that leak from a truck should be checked immediately, and the truck must not be driven until the leak has been identified and fixed. If the truck is allowed to be dispatched without fixing the leak, it can easily lead to larger leaks, safety risks (fire hazard), and engine damage.
If a truck has already too worn or leaking gaskets, they should be replaced as soon as possible. Otherwise, it can lead to bigger engine problems, such as cooling system loss or overheating.
8. Shock absorber
A telltale sign that a truck’s shock absorbers are bad is a bumpy ride, which ultimately makes the vehicle very uncomfortable to drive. For truck drivers, bad shock absorbers can even increase fatigue, which can pose a safety risk for both themselves and other motorists on the road.
Apart from excessive bouncing, bad shock absorbency can also lead to unusual noises, irregular tire wear, and reduced braking and turning ability. Whatever the case might be, bad shock absorbers should be replaced as soon as possible not only for safety but also for drivers’ comfort.
9. Spare parts and tools
Sometimes, a truck can experience problems in the middle of the road despite being well-maintained. Hence, every truck must be equipped with spare parts and tools that drivers can use to fix the car (to the best of their ability) until they can get to the nearest service shop or warehouse. Otherwise, the trucking company might need to dispatch a maintenance service to the area, which ultimately raises costs.
Trucks are perhaps the most dangerous vehicles on the road with their sheer size and difficulty to maneuver. If you want to minimize the risk of road accidents and uphold truck drivers’ safety rights, these are the things that must be checked ideally before each trip.