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RSA and Gardai reveal half of HGVs inspected at roadside found to have roadworthiness defects

Professional Drivers 10.03.2021
  • Roadside checks found major defects in 25% of heavy goods vehicles
  • Owners and drivers reminded of legal requirement to conduct daily Walk Around Checks

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are urging Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers to carry out daily walk around checks to look for defects before setting out on a journey.

The call came as figures show that half of all HGVs inspected in roadside checks by RSA Vehicle Inspectors and An Garda Síochána between 2018-2020, were found to have a roadworthiness defect.

An average of 9,500 HGVs were inspected each year over each of the last three years, with approximately 20% found to have minor defects, 25% major defects and 4% dangerous defects.

The most common major defects detected includes faulty lighting systems, excessively worn braking components and defective anti- lock braking systems which are designed to help drivers maintain steering control in emergency situations.

Mr Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA said: “As the owner, user or driver of a commercial vehicle you are legally required to ensure that a walk around check of the vehicle is carried out once in every 24-hour period before it is used on a public road. They are essential in preventing potentially dangerous vehicles from causing serious or possibly fatal collisions on the road.

The most common dangerous defects detected include excessively worn or damaged tyres and faulty brake lights. Tyres are a vehicle’s only contact with the road and excessively worn or damaged tyres potentially reduce grip and the vehicle’s ability to stop safely.  Vehicles with faulty stop lights have the potential to cause a serious collision as other road users will not be aware that the brakes have been applied and the vehicle is slowing down or coming to a stop.”

He added: “HGV operators need to build a few simple steps into their vehicle maintenance regimes. This includes carrying out daily walkaround checks and preventative maintenance inspections by suitably qualified personnel at appropriate intervals, bearing in mind the vehicle’s condition, age, and mileage. If you do spot a defect, seek advice from a suitably qualified person and do not use the vehicle unless it is safe to do so.

Vehicles posing a danger to the driver or other road users must not be used until the identified defects are repaired. Make sure you take your Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Test on time and review your maintenance system regularly to ensure it is fit for purpose. Please do not take unnecessary risks on the road - check it, fix it, don’t ignore it.”

Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, An Garda Síochána, said: “We want to remind HGV operators that they have a responsibility to ensure their vehicle is kept in a roadworthy condition at all times. Doing so will not only keep the driver safe but will ensure the safety of other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists, who share the roads with these large vehicles.

A quarter of the heavy goods vehicles inspected had major defects, which if not addressed as soon as they occur, have the potential to develop into dangerous defects.  If convicted driving a dangerously defective vehicle, drivers can expect 5 penalty points and a fine of up to €5,000.

No driver wants to lose their licence and their livelihood so ensure your vehicle is always roadworthy. We will continue to work with the RSA in carrying out roadside checks and getting potentially unsafe goods vehicles off our roads.”

The RSA is reminding HGV operators that Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing (CVRT) has been deemed an essential service during the ongoing COVID restrictions. Operators should apply for their test as normal at


Year#HGVs inspected*# inspected with minor defects% inspected with minor defects# inspected with major defects% inspected with major defects# inspected with dangerous defects% inspected with dangerous defects Compliance rate**
20199513181919%242626% 3674%48%

* Excludes buses

** Compliance rate represents the percentage of vehicle inspections where no defects were detected.

Maintenance of Commercial Vehicles

As the owner or operator of a commercial vehicle you are required to develop and put in place systems for the regular inspection and maintenance of vehicles. There are two types of inspection which must be undertaken, Daily Walk Around Checks & pre-planned preventative maintenance inspections.

Daily Walk Around Checks

When commercial vehicles are in use the operator must ensure that a walk around inspection is carried out at least once in every 24-hour period.

Employers must ensure drivers are trained to conduct daily walk around checks.

Drivers must record and report any defects using a defect book or other electronic system when carrying out these daily walkaround checks.

To ensure daily walk around checks continue to be effective, the system in place for reporting and recording vehicle defects should be reviewed regularly.

Pre-Planned Preventative Maintenance Inspections

Owners or operators are also obliged to have regular maintenance inspections carried out on their vehicles having regard to the vehicle’s condition, age, and mileage. These are in addition to daily walk around checks. They are more detailed and must be carried out by suitably qualified individuals with access to appropriate underbody vehicle inspection facilities.