Guidance

Carry out PSV daily walkaround checks

What you need to check inside and outside of the vehicle when you do a bus or other Public Service Vehicle (PSV) walkaround check.

You’re responsible for making sure your vehicle is safe to drive.

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 in your organisation.

The police and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) officers can stop you to do checks on your vehicles.

Officers can stop you from driving until you fix any problems they find, or they can issue you with a fine.

If you’re a transport manager or vehicle operator, read guidance about how to make walkaround checks part of your processes for keeping your vehicles safe to drive.

Download the diagram

You can download a diagram to remind you of the main things to check.

Check from the driver’s seat

1. Steering

Check that the steering wheel:

  • moves properly and that the power-assisted steering works correctly
  • has no excessive play
  • does not jam

Check that there’s no excessive lift or movement in the steering column.

2. Mirrors, glass and visibility

Check that all mirrors are in place and not:

  • damaged or missing glass
  • covered up
  • insecure

Check that the windscreen is not:

  • cracked
  • scratched
  • discoloured

Check that the windscreen and front side windows are not excessively tinted.

Check that no objects get in the way of your front view.

As a general rule, there should be nothing in the swept area of the windscreen wipers.

As long as they do not seriously block your view of the road, you can have some official stickers and road safety items, such as an operator licence disc.

If you use a camera system instead of a mirror, check that it works and the view is correct.

3. Brake and air build-up

Check that:

  • the air builds up correctly
  • the warning system works
  • there are no air leaks
  • the footwell is clear
  • the service brake works
  • the parking brake works
  • the service brake pedal does not have excessive side play or missing, loose or incomplete anti-slip tread

4. Windscreen wipers and washers

Make sure the windscreen wipers work. Check that they are not:

  • missing
  • damaged or worn

Make sure the windscreen washer is working.

5. Heating and ventilation

Check that:

  • forced-air ventilation systems work, if your vehicle has them
  • at least half of the ventilation system works, if your vehicle does not have forced-air ventilation
  • ventilators, windows and roof hatches are secure
  • de-mister equipment works

6. Horn

Check that the horn works and is easily accessible from the driver’s seat.

7. Warning lamps

Check that these work correctly:

  • instruments
  • gauges
  • dashboard warning lamps, including the anti-lock braking system (ABS), full headlamp and parking brake

8. Height marker

Check the height displayed on the vehicle height marker in the cab.

Check outside the vehicle

9. Lights and indicators

Check that:

  • all lights and indicators work correctly
  • all lenses are fitted, clean and the right colour

If your vehicle was first used after 1 April 1991 and it is more than 2.1 metres wide, check that marker lights are fitted and work.

10. Wheelchair access

If your vehicle is covered by Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations, you must check that these accessibility features are in good condition:

  • the wheelchair space and its safety features
  • the boarding device for wheelchair users
  • priority seats
  • handrails
  • colour contrasting features such as handrails and steps

You must also make sure you know how these features work.

11. Doors and exits

Check that doors and emergency exits:

  • work correctly
  • are secure when shut
  • open fully

Check that there are visible emergency exit markings and that the lights work.

12. Tyre and wheel fixing

Check that:

  • tyres and wheels are secure
  • tyres have a tread depth of at least 1mm
  • tyres are inflated correctly
  • there are no deep cuts in the tyre’s sidewall
  • there is no cord visible anywhere on the tyre
  • there are no objects or debris trapped between the twin wheels
  • all wheel nuts are in place and are tight enough

If your vehicle has wheel nut indicators, check if they have moved.

13. Diesel exhaust fluid (AdBlue)

Check that your diesel vehicle has enough AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid and top up if necessary.

14. Fuel, oil and waste leaks

Check that the fuel filler cap is fitted correctly.

Turn on the engine and check underneath your vehicle for any fuel, oil or waste leaks.

15. Number plate

Check that the number plate is not:

  • broken or incomplete
  • incorrect or spaced incorrectly
  • dirty
  • faded
  • covered up by anything

16. Excessive engine exhaust smoke

Check that the exhaust does not emit an excessive amount of smoke.

17. Lights and reflectors

Check that:

  • all lights and indicators work correctly
  • all lenses are fitted, clean and the right colour
  • stop lamps come on when you apply the service brake and go out when you release it

Check that the reflectors (including side reflectors) are not:

  • missing
  • broken
  • insecure
  • fitted incorrectly
  • the wrong colour
  • covered by dirt or other objects

18. Body exterior

Check that:

  • body panels, luggage compartment doors and access doors are secure and that they do not have jagged edges
  • luggage compartment doors and access doors are secure when closed

Check inside the vehicle

19. Seats and seat belts

Check that seats are secure, not damaged.

If seats are designed to retract automatically when not in use, make sure they retract correctly.

If there are seatbelts, check that they:

  • do not have any cuts, damage or fraying that may stop them from working
  • stay secure when you plug them in
  • retract against you when fitted, and fully retract when you take them off

20. Body interior

Check that:

  • exits are not obstructed
  • nothing that a passenger may walk on will collapse or is defective or insecure
  • retractable steps work correctly
  • engine interior covers are present and do not allow fumes to enter the passenger compartment
  • interior lights are present and work
  • any special features such as toilets or cooking facilities are in good condition and safe to use

If your vehicle has parcel racks, grab rails, stanchions, guard rails, padded backrests and barriers, make sure these are all in place and secure.

21. Fire extinguisher

Check that the fire extinguisher is the correct type. It must

  • contain water or foam
  • be marked BS 5423 or EN3
  • have a minimum fire rating of at least 8A or 21B

Check that the fire extinguisher is:

  • easy to access
  • in good condition
  • not discharged

22. Emergency exit hammer

If your vehicle has glass emergency exits that need a hammer to break, check that the hammer is present and easy to access.

23. First aid kit

Vehicles need a first aid kit if they are a bus with:

  • 16 or more passenger seats (except local services)
  • 9 to 16 passenger seats first used from 1 April 1988

Check that the first aid kit is:

  • present
  • in good condition
  • easy to access

24. Communication with the driver

Check that:

  • bell pushes work and make a sound when you push them
  • signs that show your vehicle is going to stop work
  • signs that show the route and destination work

Record and report the result of your check

Record and report all defects that you:

  • find during the daily walkaround check
  • become aware of during your journey

What to record

Record:

  • the vehicle registration (number plate) or identification mark
  • the date
  • details of the defects or symptoms
  • your assessment of the defects (for example, ‘dangerous’)
  • your name
  • who you reported it to

Use a form that includes a list of the items checked each day. Record ‘nil’ defects if you do not find any.

Download a template to use or use the system that your employer provides.

PSV walkaround check defect report form (PDF, 45.1KB, 1 page)

If you become aware of defects during your journey

Find a safe place to stop to assess and report any defects you become aware of during your journey.

You must get dangerous defects fixed before you continue your journey.

You can get an unlimited fine and a prison sentence for using a PSV in a dangerous conditions.

Published 28 April 2021