Comprehensive Truck Safety Procedures Checklist: Ensuring Safety on the Road

Safety is paramount in the transportation industry, especially when it comes to trucking. The nature of the job and the size and weight of trucks make it crucial for truck drivers and companies to adhere to strict safety procedures. A well-defined truck safety procedures checklist can significantly reduce the risk of accidents, injuries, and damage to property.

What is a Truck Safety Procedures Checklist?

A truck safety procedures checklist inspection is a thorough check of a commercial truck and its components before every trip to ensure that the vehicle is in safe and proper working condition.

The truck safety procedures checklist inspection is designed to identify any potential safety hazards or mechanical issues that could affect the truck’s ability to operate safely on the road.

The pre-trip safety inspection typically includes a checklist of items to be inspected, which can vary depending on the truck’s specific make and model and the regulations in the jurisdiction where the truck is operating. Some common components that are checked during pre-trip safety inspections include:

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Parking brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear vision mirrors
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Emergency equipment
  • Exhaust system
  • Battery and electrical system
  • Seat belt
  • Fuel system
  • Suspension
  • Driveline/driveshaft

After completing the pre-trip safety inspection, the driver will typically fill out a pre-trip inspection report or logbook to document the inspection and any issues that were identified. If any safety hazards or mechanical issues are found, they must be repaired before the truck can be operated on the road network.

Truck safety procedures checklist

I. Pre-Trip Safety Inspections

Ensure you have a torch, tire pressure gauge, gloves and any other required tools.

Vehicle Exterior

Vehicle Exterior Inspections should include the following checklist items:

  1. Examine the condition of the body: Look for any loose panels, damaged bumpers, or other visible defects that could affect safety.
  2. Verify the condition of mirrors: Ensure all mirrors are clean, properly adjusted, and free from cracks or damage.
  3. Check the condition of tires: Examine tire pressure, tread depth, and overall condition to ensure they meet safety standards.
  4. Wheels and tires: Check the tires to ensure that they are in good condition. This includes checking the tire pressure, tread depth, and condition of the tires. Check the lug nuts to ensure they are tight and inspect the wheels for cracks, corrosion, and other defects that could affect safety.
  5. Suspension: Inspect the suspension system for any signs of damage or wear, including broken or cracked components, loose or missing bolts, and leaking shock absorbers. Also, check the airbags or springs for any signs of damage or leaks and ensure that they are properly inflated.
  6. Driveline/Driveshaft: Visually inspect the drive shaft for any signs of damage or wear, including dents, cracks, or missing components. Also, check for any loose or missing bolts or other fasteners that secure the drive shaft to the transmission and rear axle.
  7. Inspect lights and signals: Test all exterior lights and signals, including headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights.
  8. Verify the condition of mirrors: Ensure all mirrors are clean, properly adjusted, and free from cracks or damage.
  9. Inspect windshield and wipers: Check the windshield for cracks or chips, and make sure wipers are in good working order.
  10. Emergency equipment: Check the emergency equipment, including fire extinguishers, and triangles, to ensure they are present and in good working order.
  11. Coupling devices: Inspect the coupling devices, including fifth-wheel and kingpin, to ensure they are secure and in good working order.

Vehicle Interior Inspection

Vehicle interior inspections should include the following checklist items:

  1. Adjust seat and mirrors: Position the driver’s seat for comfort and optimal visibility, and adjust all mirrors accordingly.
  2. Horn: Test the horn to ensure it is working correctly.
  3. Windshield wipers: Check the windshield wipers and washers and ensure they are functioning correctly.
  4. Rear vision mirrors: Check all rear vision mirrors to ensure they are clean, adjusted correctly, and free from cracks or damage.
  5. Test safety features: Ensure the seat belts and other safety features are in good working order.
  6. Emergency equipment: Check the emergency equipment, first aid kits, spare fuses and torch to ensure they are present and in good working order.
  7. Check for obstructions: Remove any objects that may obstruct the driver’s view or impede safe operation.

Under the Hood 

Under the hood checks should include:

  1. Engine compartment: Check the engine oil level, coolant level, belts, and hoses. They should also check the air compressor, battery, and alternator. Check the electrical system for any signs of damage or wear, such as frayed wires or loose connections.
  2. Battery and electrical system: Check the battery terminals for any signs of corrosion and ensure that the battery is securely fastened in its bracket. Check the wiring for damage or loose connections.
  3. Exhaust system: Check the exhaust system for any signs of damage, such as cracks or leaks. Also, ensure that all exhaust components are securely fastened to the truck.
  4. Fuel system: Check the fuel lines for any signs of wear or damage, ensure that all fittings are securely fastened and ensure the fuel filter is clean and not clogged. Also, check the fuel tank for any signs of damage or leaks.

Start the Engine 

Checks conducted when the engine has been started should include:

  1. Gauges and controls: Verify that all gauges, including fuel, oil pressure, and temperature, are functioning properly.
  2. Air pressure: Check the air pressure gauge to ensure that there is sufficient pressure to operate the air brake system.
  3. Steering mechanism: Check the steering mechanism to ensure it is functioning correctly and without any resistance.

Roll the Wheels

Once the area is clear and free of hazards, the following operational checks should be conducted:

  1. Wheels, steering, transmission and drivetrain: Drive forward and reverse slowly and check for any issues with the wheels, steering, brakes, transmission and drivetrain. This includes checking for any unusual noises, vibrations, or resistance.
  2. Service brakes including trailer brake connections: Verify the service brakes and trailer brake connections are functioning correctly.
  3. Parking brake: Test the parking brake to ensure it holds the vehicle in place.
  4. Tug test: Check the security of the coupling devices that connect the truck and trailer including brake and electrical connections. Check that the fifth wheel is properly connected to the trailer kingpin and that the locking mechanism is secure. Also, ensure that there is no slack or play in the connection by gently pulling forward while the trailer brakes are engaged to ensure that the trailer is properly connected to the truck. The driver should feel the trailer tug against the truck.

Below: Digital Truck Pre-Trip Checklist by DIGI CLIP mobile forms

Truck Pre-Trip Safety Inspection / How to Pre-trip Inspection on a Truck / Commercial Truck Safety Checklist / Pre-Trip Inspection for Flatbed Trucks / Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspections

DIGI CLIP mobile forms provide digital safety, compliance & inspections checklists

Digital Truck Daily Pre-Start Checks

While conducting daily pre-start checks manually can be time-consuming and prone to human error, adopting digital checklists can significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of pre-start inspections. Digital checklists are becoming increasingly popular in the transportation industry as they can streamline the inspection process.

Digital checklists allow drivers to conduct inspections quickly and easily on a mobile device or tablet. The checklists can be customised to include specific checks and procedures, and drivers can record their observations, attach photos and add a digital signature for accountability. Digital checklists also have the advantage of being submitted to a cloud-based software with a central database, providing real-time reporting and analysis of inspections.

Implementing digital checklists can improve the accuracy of inspections, reduce errors, and provide managers with real-time information on the status of their fleet. Digital checklists can also provide an audit trail of inspections, making it easier to demonstrate compliance with regulations in the event of an audit or investigation.

II. Cargo Loading and Securing

Weight Distribution

  1. Understand weight limits: Familiarize yourself with weight restrictions and ensure the cargo doesn’t exceed the truck’s capacity.
  2. Distribute weight evenly: Properly distribute the weight to maintain balance and prevent the truck from tipping over.
  3. Secure loose items: Secure all loose items to prevent them from shifting during transit, potentially causing accidents.

Securement Methods

  1. Use proper tie-downs: Utilize appropriate tie-downs, such as straps, chains, or ropes, to secure the cargo effectively.
  2. Ensure adequate tension: Apply the correct amount of tension to the tie-downs, keeping the cargo stable but not excessively tight.
  3. Use blocking and bracing: Implement blocking and bracing techniques to prevent cargo movement and maintain stability.
  4. Consider environmental factors: Take into account any potential environmental factors, such as wind or rain, that could affect the securement of the cargo.

III. On-the-Road Safety Procedures

Defensive Driving

  1. Remain alert: Stay alert while driving and be aware of your surroundings, including other vehicles, pedestrians, and road conditions.
  2. Maintain a safe speed: Drive at a safe and appropriate speed for the road conditions, taking into account the size and weight of your vehicle.
  3. Keep a safe distance: Maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles to allow for adequate stopping time and distance.
  4. Avoid distractions: Avoid distractions such as cell phones, food, or drink while driving.
  5. Use turn signals: Use turn signals to communicate your intentions to other drivers.

Weather and Road Conditions

  1. Monitor weather reports: Monitor weather reports to anticipate any potentially hazardous weather conditions that could affect driving conditions.
  2. Adjust driving for weather conditions: Adjust your driving style to match the current weather conditions, such as slowing down in rain or snow.
  3. Pay attention to road conditions: Pay attention to road conditions, such as construction, potholes, or other hazards, and adjust your driving accordingly.

Emergency Situations

  1. Be prepared: Have an emergency kit in your truck that includes items such as a flashlight, first aid kit, and water.
  2. Know emergency procedures: Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures, such as how to use a fire extinguisher or what to do in case of a tire blowout.
  3. Communicate with others: If you encounter an emergency situation, communicate with other drivers or emergency personnel as necessary.

IV. Safe Driving Practices

Defensive Driving

One of the most important aspects of safe driving is practising defensive driving. This means taking proactive measures to avoid accidents and potential hazards. Some key defensive driving practices include:

  1. Maintaining a safe distance: It’s crucial to keep a safe following distance to allow for adequate reaction time in case of sudden stops or emergencies.
  2. Observing speed limits: It’s essential to adhere to posted speed limits and adjust speed based on road conditions, weather, and traffic patterns.
  3. Staying alert and focused: Avoiding distractions while driving, such as using mobile devices or eating, is critical to remaining attentive to the road.
  4. Anticipating potential hazards: Scanning the road ahead for potential hazards, including other vehicles, pedestrians, and road conditions, can help drivers anticipate potential risks and react accordingly.

Adherence to Traffic Laws

Following traffic laws is also a critical component of safe driving. Some key traffic laws that drivers should adhere to include:

  1. Obeying traffic signs and signals: Observing and obeying all traffic signs and signals is essential to ensuring the safety of everyone on the road.
  2. Using turn signals: Signaling turns and lane changes allow other drivers to anticipate your movements and react accordingly.
  3. Yielding the right of way: Yielding the right of way to other drivers and pedestrians can help prevent accidents and ensure safe and courteous driving.


Truck safety should always be a top priority for any fleet management operation, and implementing a comprehensive truck safety procedure checklist can go a long way in ensuring the safety of truck drivers and others on the road. By addressing key safety areas such as vehicle maintenance, driver training, and compliance with regulations, companies can minimize the risk of accidents and fatalities, while also improving their overall operational efficiency and reputation. It is essential to regularly review and update safety procedures to keep pace with changing industry standards and technologies and to prioritize the safety of all stakeholders involved in the transportation of goods.

DIGI CLIP mobile forms – What Do We Do?

DIGI CLIP mobile forms is an easy-to-use inexpensive digital checklist & inspection app and cloud-based software. DIGI CLIP is used across different industries to capture safety and compliance data and other information to help improve safety, compliance and operational efficiencies.

DIGI CLIP will allow you to remove paper reporting from your business – no more lost, late missing or illegible checklists. The DIGI CLIP mobile app allows images, comments and digital signatures to be added to checklists from a phone or tablet.

DIGI CLIP has a Form Library where you can access all of your checklists, inspections and more ready for use. All checklists and inspections can be edited or updated to meet your risk and operational requirements.

DIGI CLIP also has a safety management module called Safety Tracker. Safety Tracker is our incident and hazard reporting and management software application that adds to DIGI CLIP mobile forms. Incidents and hazards are reported via the DIGI CLIP app or directly on the cloud-based software. Incident and quality Investigations and hazard assessments are completed on templates provided by DIGI CLIP and corrective and closeout actions are tracked by the cloud-based software.

Follow this link if you want to know more about what we do and how we can help or send us a message.

Streamline your safety, compliance & inspection checks with the DIGI CLIP mobile checklist app today.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal, financial, or other professional advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice of a qualified professional. The author and publisher disclaim any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided in this article. Readers are advised to seek the advice of a qualified professional for any specific concerns or questions related to their business operations or compliance with relevant regulations.