Fleet maintenance under the microscope after NSW Police crackdown

When was the last time your fleet vehicles were checked over by a trusted, qualified mechanic?

While this question may seem redundant to many, there are a number of business in Australia that struggle to organise such crucial vehicle check-ups, and as a result they are leaving themselves open to a range of issues.

Safety will be top of these concerns - a poorly maintained fleet can put all workplace health and safety plans to the wind. However, financially, there can also be serious repercussions for a business and a fleet manager that allow their vehicles to fall below safety standards.

This was on show recently in New South Wales, where a safety and compliance operation conducted by the state's police force in Eastern Creek brought both good and bad news.

The good: while the police drug tested 94 drivers and breathalysed a further 107 over the course of the day on 10 April, there were no drivers breaching this road law.

However, the operation also found a high number of faults, causing passing fleet vehicles to fail the stop tests.

Fleet maintenance issues

Out of 120 stopped trucks, officers found 40 faults, including body/chassis issues, ancillary equipment and fuel/oil leaks, a NSW Police Force statement explained.

A number of other infringements were also due to improperly secured loads, causing danger to drivers and other road users alike.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander and Acting Assistant Commissioner Bob Ryan delved into some of the more worrying issues seen during the operation.

"While relatively few defects were found during today's operation, one vehicle with loose wheel nuts and another with a bald tyre is a serious concern and should be a warning to the industry to take note of their actions," he explained.

Substantial risks

In a worst-case scenario, poor maintenance can lead to death. In fact, around 80 truck drivers are killed each year Down Under, according to Safe Work Australia. More than a third of these (39 per cent) were single vehicle crashes, of which vehicle malfunction issues can play a part.

General Manager of Compliance Operations at Roads and Maritime Services Paul Endycott said more care needs to be taken.

"The dangerous condition of the truck, with an unsecured wheel with loose wheel nuts that could be turned by hand, was extremely concerning and could easily have had a catastrophic outcome. Critical failures of this type by some operators are totally unacceptable and more care must be taken to ensure vehicles travelling on our roads are safe. We will be taking this up with the company."

If you feel your fleet is in need of more care, though for whatever reason you struggle to find the time or the budget to make it as safe as possible, contact Smartfleet to hear more about our discounted fleet maintenance service.