Seven out of 10 trucks tested in Kimberly late last year failed brake assessments when pulled over by traffic police. Will your trucks pass or fail if pulled over at a weighbridge?
Running a fleet of long-haul trucks and trailers costs money. A set of leading-brand tyres for your super-link setups can set you back close to R200 000. But, the economy’s tough and profits aren’t where they used to be – so how do you ensure your trucks are safe and sound for the daily long-haul? It starts with preventative maintenance and knowing what to look for before trucks and trailers leave your depot.
“One truck crash is a crash too many, and the [transport] industry needs to come together to prevent losses of life and cargo on South Africa’s roads,” says Patrick O’Leary, editor of FleetWatch magazine. Standard Bank supports safe trucking, and has partnered withFleetWatch to improve the state of the trucks and trailers on SA’s roads.
Related: Preventing irregular wear patterns on your tyres
Standard Bank supported FleetWatch in training more than 50 Limpopo provincial traffic officers in March 2017. “We want to provide police with the skills to quickly and easily identify whether a truck and trailer is roadworthy or not. If they have these skills, transporters will take fewer risks when it comes to maintaining their vehicles, which means safer roads for everyone,” explains FleetWatch editor, Patrick O’Leary.
Coming together for safer roads
On Brake & Tyre Watch: “Our aim is to increase transporters’ awareness around efficient braking and tyre safety. We want to promote the value of preventative maintenance on trucks, including all safety critical items,” says O’Leary. Standard Bank sees Brake & Tyre Watch as an important component in assisting transporters run safer fleets.
To make it easier for police to assess trucks, and to help you ensure your trucks are always in roadworthy condition,FleetWatchhas created a checklist of items that law enforcement officials are on the look-out for. You can get a copy of the checklist fromFleetWatchto help you or your fleet managers stay on top of South African legal requirements when moving cargo on the road.
“If your trucks and trailers meet the requirements of this list, it reduces the chances of you receiving unnecessary fines,” O’Leary says. “The checklist highlights key areas that must be inspected to make sure both the truck and the trailer is roadworthy. To avoid conflict between drivers and the police on the road, each checklist item is matched to its applicable legislation,” explains O’Leary.
Prevent delays, fines and the (impound) yard
On-time delivery drives success in the logistics sector, but unfortunately all loads don’t reach their destinations. Some trucks experience brake lock-up, they lose control – they lose precious cargo. Other trucks experience blow-outs, lengthy delays and missed delivery deadlines. Using theFleetWatchchecklist, you can prevent lost loads and unwanted delays.
“Drivers shouldn’t be blamed for the state of their trucks, it’s the owners and operators that are responsible for providing reliable and safe vehicles,” says Wolfgang Lehmann, braking technology expert with the ITI (Independent Trailer Inspection association).
Related: How to extend the wear on your fleet tyres
He unpacks the key areas that police check on your trucks and trailers when pulling them over for inspection, according to the checklist:
Police inspect the tread area for legal depth, sidewall quality for cuts or slashes, and rim-assemblies for damages from potholes and tarmac trenches.
Police inspect this system in depth. Air-hoses, Suzi cables, the park brake, brake boosters, slack adjusters, brakes pads and linings, and hydraulic systems are checked.
3. Lights and reflective tape
All the vehicle’s lights; front, rear, trailer, emergency flashers and individual indicators are checked. Reflective tape is also assessed, to ensure that at least 80% of the heavy vehicle combination is wrapped with it in the form of a horizontal strip.
4. ABS/EBS components
You’d expect this test to form part of your brake assessments, but here the police are looking particularly at the operation of your ABS units for the trailer (anti-lock braking system). If your ABS warning lights aren’t functioning, expect a fine.
5. Rear of trailers
The back of the trailer is inspected for a few reasons. First, it must have an under-run bumper that’s 100mm square or 100mm round. Mudflaps must be fitted too, and the gap between the bottom of the flap and the road cannot exceed 200mm, for example.
Your next move
There’s lots to consider when it comes to keeping your trucks and trailers roadworthy. Cutting a few rands here to save on a replacement middle tyre there could save some money for today, but in the long-term this will hurt your business.
To keep your clients happy, deliver on time, and contribute to making SA’s roads safer, you must consider enforcing robust brake and tyre management. If you’re stuck, Standard Bank’s transport sector specialists can assist you with fleet management tools, as well as advice and insights on how to maximise your logistics capabilities.
- Standard Bank, and a select group of transport sector stakeholders are coming together to improve the skills of South Africa’s traffic police.
- Brake & Tyre Watch is a two-day initiative that allows traffic officials to learn about truck and trailer technology, so that they know exactly what to look out for as ‘dodgy’ when pulling rigs over.
- A checklist has been created to assist traffic officials and your fleet managers in identifying recurring problems with trucks and trailers. Drivers can supply a copy of this inspection sheet to a fleet manager to remedy roadworthy issues.