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Everything you need to know about heavy truck circle checks


Everything you need to know about heavy truck circle checks

Getting ready to get behind the wheel of a heavy truck? Not so fast! Have you done your circle check?

If so, happy driving!

If not, you might want to read this article by the truck transportation specialists at Transport Econo Nord.

What is a circle check?

According to the SAAQ, a circle check consists of a visual and auditory inspection of the vehicle’s components.

When done on a heavy truck, it aims to detect defects at an early stage. This makes it possible to inform the operator and owner of the problem more quickly and prevent the truck from being used when its condition could cause an accident or breakdown.

In the truck transportation industry, it can also prevent injuries to drivers, damage to cargo and delays in deliveries.

Heavy vehicles subject to a circle check

Circle checks are done on all heavy vehicles with a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of 4,500 kg (9,920.802 lbs) or more.

Circle checks also apply to combinations of road vehicles where the GVWR of at least one of the vehicles is 4,500 kg or more. In this case, since the combination of vehicles is covered, the circle check is done on all its components and not only on the vehicle of the combination with a GVWR of 4,500 kg or more.

It should be noted that even if their GVWR is less than 4,500 kg, buses, minibuses, tow trucks and vehicles transporting explosives or hazardous materials are covered by the safety patrol.

Some types of tool and farm vehicles may also be exempted from the circle check.

Heavy truck drivers’ responsibilities

Before driving a heavy truck, the driver is required to have a circle check done on the truck within the last 24 hours. This truck safety inspection may have been performed by the driver or a designated person.

When the operator conducts the circle check, the operator is responsible for the inspection and the driver may accept or refuse the inspection.

If accepted, the driver will countersign the circle check report. The driver is not responsible for the inspection, but remains responsible for keeping the report up to date and reporting any defects that may be noted on the vehicle while it is in use.

If the driver refuses to do so, the driver will simply have to repeat the heavy truck circle check.

Examples of heavy truck components inspected in a circle check

A heavy vehicle circle check includes the inspection of various components:

  1. Coupling devices
  2. Frame and cargo body
  3. Heater/defroster
  4. Driver controls
  5. Steering
  6. Windshield wiper/washer
  7. Emergency equipment
  8. Headlights and lights
  9. Tires
  10. Doors and other exits
  11. Glass and mirrors
  12. Wheels, hubs and fasteners
  13. Seats
  14. Suspension
  15. Fuel system
  16. Exhaust system
  17. Electric brake system
  18. Hydraulic brake system
  19. Air brake system
  20. Passenger transportation items

Circle check report

The circle check report is a written or electronic document completed by the person conducting the circle check. It is used to inform the operator of the inspection results and the defects found. It also certifies the validity of the circle check.

A heavy truck circle check report must include:

  • Licence plate number of the vehicle or the unit registration certificate number
  • Operator’s name
  • Date and time the circle check was done
  • Municipality or location on the road where the inspection was conducted
  • Defects found during the trip
  • Defects found during the vehicle safety inspection (if there are none, this must also be indicated)
  • Name of the person who did the circle check (in block letters and legible)
  • Statement signed by the driver or the person who conducted the patrol certifying that the vehicle was inspected in accordance with the applicable requirements
  • If applicable, the signature of the driver who did not do the circle check themselves, to attest that they read the report and approved the inspection
  • Odometer reading if the vehicle is equipped with one

It is mandatory to keep the completed and valid circle check report in the heavy truck or it cannot be driven.

What to do if defects are found during a circle check

It is the owner’s responsibility to maintain their heavy truck in good condition. The owner must be made aware of the presence of major and minor defects revealed by the circle check in order to be able to repair them and maintain the right to operate the vehicle.

In the case of minor defects, the owner has 48 hours to make the necessary repairs in order to maintain the right to operate the truck.

In the case of major defects, the vehicle loses driving rights until the necessary repairs have been made.

To find out whether a defect is minor or major, refer to the SAAQ’s list of defects 1. This list covers heavy trucks, while lists 2 and 3 cover buses and motor coaches.

Generally speaking, a minor defect does not pose an immediate risk to the driver and other road users, but can deteriorate rapidly in some cases. A major defect poses an immediate risk to the safety of the driver and other road users.

At Transport Econo Nord, we take circle checks seriously

This sums up the basics of what you should know about the heavy truck circle check. If you would like to learn more about it, refer to the official Circle Check Guide written by the Government of Quebec.

At Transport Econo Nord, we take all the necessary precautions to make our road transport services as safe as possible. Our thorough circle checks are only a small part of our many staff and road user safety strategies.