As the driver, you’re responsible for making sure your vehicle is safe to drive, and also the condition of the vehicle at the beginning and end of every shift.
Whilst the vast majority of our clients have robust processes in place, ultimately whilst the vehicle is under your care, it’s your responsibility – and it’s your licence, and possibly your insurance history*, that could be impacted by any issues.
Carry out a walkaround check of the vehicle before your journey to make sure it’s safe.
Report any defects in writing to the person in charge of sorting out vehicle defects at the client you are working for.
If you see ANY damage to the vehicle (even if it’s still roadworthy and/or seems minor) report this to the client AND take pictures before you drive the vehicle – and likewise after you finished your shift take pictures to show the condition you left the vehicle in.
This evidence is sometimes the only thing that will prevent the next driver who takes over the vehicle and causes damage – from trying to blame it onto you.
Remember that the police and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) officers can stop you to do checks on your vehicles – but this is just for vehicle roadworthiness, if it’s a claim for damage then they might not see the issue – but insurance will (ie a dent on a door etc).
*whilst it’s uncommon for insurance claims whilst driving a company vehicle to effect personal insurance – it’s NOT completely impossible – hence take photos before and after your shift to show the condition of the vehicle whilst it was under your care.
Likewise if you do have an issue/ cause damage, then take pictures immediately (and inform the client/local office) – the pictures mean you can demonstrate the damage that was caused, and avoid the chance of anyone ‘adding’ to it subsequently and blaming it on you.
In 99.9% of the time, there are no issues, and even the ones that there are tend to be dealt with quickly and efficiently, however it’s important to prepare for the 0.1% of times that an issue isn’t clear – and having pictures to prove your version of events can come really handy.