For several legal reasons and for your personal safety purposes, it is essential that you maintain your minibus. Whether it is your own fleet or you have hired/ leased the vehicle, as an operator of the vehicle, you and your organisation will be held legally responsible for its roadworthiness.
It is your responsibility to also install safety devices such as GPS and wheel trim safety so as to make sure that everyone concerned with driving the vehicle, as well as in the vehicle, are safe. In this article, we have suggested a strategy that might help you adopt a position of best practice.
Here are some key elements that you need to take into consideration while maintaining your minibus.
1: A Responsible Person
One of the very first steps in making sure that your vehicle is maintained properly is deciding who is responsible enough for this functionality. There have been instances where many schools and colleges take on minibus operation without actually appointing someone to ensure that the vehicle is rightly maintained and run.
This leads to situations where things are not correctly done such as, services are missed, MOT checks are done late and much more. By the end of this article, you will realise that there many things that need utmost attention, and systems are needed to be put in place to manage and monitor the vehicle maintenance.
Maintaining your wheels certainly does not mean that you simply hire a new employees, but means that someone (paid or willingly) is taking full responsibility of your vehicle.
2: Daily Vehicle Checks
Basic vehicle maintenance process should be carried out on a daily basis. Apart from any other factors, drivers are usually legally responsible for the conditions of certain items and equipments when it is on the road. Hence, it is wise to check them before driving the vehicle off.
The responsible drivers should all be trained so as to carry the daily check process, and the owners should also have a way of recording that it is been done. Make sure you have a clear and simple in operation defect reporting system.
Most of the vehicle defects are picked up daily and sometimes even on a weekly basis. In such a situation, defect report forms should be readily available so that the exact nature of the problem can be recorded and forwarded to the person responsible for the maintenance. Along with the defect, the defect reporting system should also have records multiple decisions such as
- Who found the defect
- Who decided the vehicle was still roadworthy or not
- What was done to rectify the defect
- Who undertook the task
3: Regular Safety Inspections
These are different from that of your daily and weekly inspections and are in addition to your MOT inspections. These inspections are rather very detailed report of the vehicle, which are certified by a responsible mechanic/engineer that the wheels will be able to maintain its roadworthiness until the next scheduled safety inspection.
The minibuses operated by the schools and colleges are sanctioned under the Section 19 permit regime and have secured their permit either from the Community Transport Association or the office of the Traffic Commissioner. Additionally, they have also signed a S19 permit application form that stated regular safety inspections will be thereby carried out.
The number of times these inspections should be carried out over a year usually vary, depending on the factors such as the annual mileage covered. You can however search online for how often the checks should be done for different types of road transport operations and under different conditions.
4: Recording And Reporting Vehicle Maintenance
All the minibuses permitted under S19 are required to keep maintenance records for a period of 15 months at least. Copies of all the recorded defects, repairs safety inspection reports, MOT reports and certificates, service history and any other record of work done on the vehicle should be retained and filed in a logical manner.
Authorities have the power to visit a minibus operator’s premises so as to make sure the needed maintenance arrangements are done and if found unsatisfactory, they report you to the Traffic Commissioner. Traffic Commissioner has the authority to revoke your S19 permit(s), without which you will no longer be able to drive your minibus.