CIRCLE CHECK - SIMPLIFIED!
On November 20, 2016, a new SAAQ measure for heavy vehicles came into force. This measure involves some changes in the daily lives of owners and drivers of heavy vehicles.
This article highlights the essential elements of the law as well as an overview of the application developed by FOCUS, which aims to simplify the life of everyone who will be affected by the new measure.
What You Should Know:
In addition to keeping your vehicles in good condition, you should now archive all reports provided by your drivers for a period of at least 6 months.
This means that you will have a lot of paperwork to manage. For a fleet of 20 active trucks, it is referred to as a 24-hour truck report, which must be retained for 6 months and this is not counting defect reports that may also be needed.
20 trucks X 6 months X 30 reports = a minimum of 3,600 reports to keep on hand in order to conform to the new regulation.
Moreover, when a defect is reported by one of your drivers, you must respond according to the degree of severity. For a minor defect, you must repair it within 48 hours. Major defects must be repaired before the vehicle goes back on the road again. The proof-of- service documents must be kept for at least 12 months.
It is also interesting to know that all transport companies are periodically audited. The SAAQ verifies all the means that have been put in place to ensure road safety, which means that it is of paramount importance to have all the papers in hand at all times. Fines for offenders range from $350 to $700 for each offense; this is not to be taken lightly.
Considering the risks associated with the loss of forms and the efforts required to manage the reports, one quickly notices the need for a technological solution. FOCUS is currently working on an application to facilitate the transmission, writing and archiving of reports. Although it is not yet available, you can register to be notified as soon as it is available.
Before driving, you must ensure that a circle check has been made on the vehicle within the last 24 hours; it is no longer necessary to carry out a check before each move. This verification can be done by yourself, or by a person designated by the operator/owner. If a person is designated, the operator becomes the person in charge and you can, as the driver, accept or reject the results of the round.
In regards to the elements that need to be checked for the verification, they now vary according to the type of vehicle. Lists of specific points for buses, coaches and other heavy vehicles have been prepared.
You must keep all your reports while on the move, and hand them over to your operator within a maximum of 20 days.
Driver fines range from $175 to $350 for each offense.
With our application (ready soon!) you can easily create your reports directly on your phone, and send them as soon as completed. During your checks, you can attach pictures of the defects found in your report, allowing your operator to correct them more effectively. In addition, you will have access to the history of all your reports, thus ensuring peace of mind during an audit.
The FOCUS application (iOS and Android), which is due to be launched very soon, will allow effective communication between drivers, owners and verifiers.
Here are the main features:
- Filling out circle check reports electronically on any smart phone, with photo media, in seconds;
- Automatic transmission of reports to operators/owners;
- Real-time access to report history, both new and old;
- Cement mixer
- Fire truck
- Straight body truck
- Snow removal truck
- Road tractor
- Emergence response vehicle
- Equipment transport vehicle (compressor, drill, concrete pump, etc.)
- A pick-up truck with a GVWR of less than 4,500 kg attached to a trailer or semi-trailer with a GVWR of 4,500 kg or more.
- A pick-up truck with a GVWR of 4,500 kg or more, attached to a trailer or semi-trailer with a GVWR of less than 4,500 kg.
- A pick-up truck with a GVWR of 4,500 kg or more attached to a trailer or semi-trailer with a GVWR of 4,500 kg or more (each of the vehicles in the combination has a GVWR of 4,500 kg or more).
- School bus
- Adapted transportation (minibuses)
- City bus
- Tow-truck (all types)
- Heavy vehicles required by an emergency service or in the event of a disaster.
- Farm tractors.
- Agricultural machinery (ex: harvester)
- Farm trailer (ex: hay trailer owned by a farmer and used for agricultural purposes)
- Heavy vehicles used for personal, non-commercial or professional purposes (ex: truck used to move personal belongings)
- Two or three axle trucks used in any of the following circumstances:
- Transportation of primary products from a farm, forest or body of water, if the driver or operator of the truck is the producer.
- Return after such transport, if the truck is empty or it carries products used for the main exploitation of a farm, forest or water.
Several changes were made to reporting, defects and routine verification. Here is an comprehensive list of changes:
1. THE VERIFICATION
Same contents of items to check for all vehicles.
- Circle check (equivalent to pre-departure check)
- Coach (bus) specific check*
*All buses are visited by this new periodic inspection, except those covered by a preventive maintenance program (PEP) recognized by the SAAQ.
- Same content of items to check for all vehicles.
- Content of elements to be checked according to the type of vehicle (3 possible lists).
- Heavy vehicles of a fire department belonging to a municipality outside an urban community with a population of less than 25,000 are not covered.
- All heavy vehicles in a fire department are now covered, but the frequency of their verification is unique.
- At the beginning of each work shift of the driver.
- Must have been completed within 24 hours, otherwise driver or designated person must complete.
- Where there is more than one driver, each driver must do so, unless the last check has been made by a person designated by the operator. In this case, it is valid for 24 hours.
- Special features for buses, minibuses, tow trucks and emergency vehicles: a driver may countersign the circle check of the previous driver even if he is not a person designated by the operator to make the verification.
- The driver for all heavy vehicles.
- A maintenance attendant may perform the pre-departure check in the case of an ambulance, bus or minibus
- The driver or a person designated by the operator for all heavy vehicles
- Obligation to conduct a pre-departure check
- Obligation to perform a circle check.
- Prohibited of driving or leaving a person when the circle check and the specific vehicle inspection, if any, are not carried out.
- A circle check is not required for a road test, under certain conditions.
2. LIST OF DEFECTS
- Absence of official reminders: should refer to regulations or guides.
Checklist in the form of defect lists are applicable depending on the type of vehicle.
- The operator must file the vehicle defects list(s) applicable to each vehicle. There are 3 different lists for the circle check:
- List 1: Heavy vehicles (other than a bus, minibus or coach)
- List 2: Buses (except coaches), minibuses, trailers drawn by a bus, minibus or coach
- List 3: Coaches exclusively
- Lists must be in the form prescribed by regulation and the operator may add items to the section “Specific Verifications Required by the Operator”
- The driver must keep them on board and provide them to a peace officer upon request.
- There is a 4th list of defects. It concerns the coach-specific verification which is under the responsibility of the owner. It is not required to have this list onboard the vehicle.
3. THE REPORTS
- Obligation to complete and maintain the pre-departure audit report and record its observations
- Obligation for the person conducting the audit to complete and sign the report.
- Obligation for the driver be up-to-date and record his or her observations in the circle check report while on route.
- Obligation for the driver to countersign the circle check report when the check has been made by a person designated by the operator to attest that he has become aware of it.
- In the case of a bus, minibus, tow truck or emergency vehicle, the driver may countersign the previous driver’s circle check. He will then be held responsible for the latter’s safety check.
- Obligation for the owner to complete a coach-specific audit report.
- It travels within a radius of 160 km and no defects are detected.
- No exemptions are provided.
- Obligation to keep it on board when valid (when required).
- Obligation to keep it on board when valid (circle check report and, if applicable, coach-specific verification report).
- Prohibited of driving or allowing a person to drive without a valid report (circle check report and, if applicable, coach-specific verification report). Obligation to keep it on board when valid (circle check report and, if applicable, coach-specific verification report).
- Prohibited of driving or allowing a person to drive without a valid report (circle check report and, if applicable, coach-specific verification report).
- Obligation to return a copy to the operator without delay if there are defects. The latter must sign the copy.
- Obligation to record the major defects in the circle check report and to deliver a copy of the report without delay to the operator, who must sign the report.
- Obligation to record minor deficiencies in the circle check report and to provide a copy of the report to the operator no later than the end of the current verification or before the next, whichever comes first. The operator must sign the copy.
- Obligation to transmit the original circle check report to the operator, within 20 days of its drafting.
- Obligation to keep company reports.
- The operator and the owner must keep a copy of the verification before-departure reports for at least 12 months.
- The owner must keep the documents attesting to the repair of the defects found during the verification before departure for at least 12 months.
- Obligation to keep company reports.
- The operator and the owner must keep a copy of the circle check reports and coach-specific verification documents for at least 6 months.
- The owner must keep the documents attesting to the repair of the defects found during the circle check and during the coach-specific check for at least 12 months.
4. THE DEFECTS
- Report the defect to the operator without delay. Prohibited to drive with a major defect.
- Immediately report a major defect.
- Report a minor defect before the next circle check or before the end of the current verification.
- Prohibited to drive with a major defect.
The new inspection report shall contain the following information, in addition to the observations of the person who carried out the inspection:
- The number of the license plate of the vehicle;
- The name of the operator;
- The date and time of the verification;
- The municipality or place on route where the verification was made;
- Defects observed during the trip;
- Defects observed during the circle check. If there is none, it must also be indicated;
- The name of the person who performed the check (in block letters and legible);
- A statement signed by the driver or by the person conducting the circle check that the vehicle has been inspected in accordance with the applicable requirements;
- Where applicable, the signature of the driver who has not made the circle check himself to attest that he has read the report and accepted the verification;
- Reading of the odometer if the vehicle is equipped with it.
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