Heavy vehicle operators: Complete your circle check before hitting the road!

If you own or operate a heavy vehicle, you must make sure you have performed a circle check of your vehicle within the 24-hour period preceding your trip.

What is a circle check? A circle check is a visual and audio inspection of the accessible components of a vehicle that makes it possible to detect defects as soon as possible.

Why do I need to carry out a circle check?

In the first place, a circle check ensures your own safety and the safety of other road users. In addition, it allows you to avoid a fine by guaranteeing that:

  • the main components of your vehicle are in good condition,
  • you are aware of any repairs that need to be made,
  • no vehicles with major defects are travelling on our highway system.

Who is responsible for carrying out the circle check?

The owner, operator or a person designated by the operator (such as the driver) must inspect the vehicle to ensure that it meets current standards. Ultimately, the driver must make sure that the check has been carried out in accordance with accepted practice before getting behind the wheel.

How do I carry out a circle check?

The SAAQ Circle Check Guide describes effective methods for performing the circle check. It also provides a sample circle check report (Appendix 1, page 145) that you can fill in.

The inspection methods and inspection report presented in the Guide are not mandatory, however, and are left to the discretion of the person who is performing the check.

Pointers to keep in mind when carrying out the inspection:

  • Choose a safe place on flat terrain.
  • Remain vigilant to avoid falls and injuries.
  • Adopt a position that provides you with a good view of the accessible components outlined in the circle check (see SAAQ Circle Check Guide, p. 19).
  • Remain attentive throughout the circle check to clues that may indicate a defect (e.g., traces of fluid on the ground, audible air leaks).
  • Use the same inspection routine to help you save time and make sure you don’t forget anything.
  • Keep a report of your inspections to avoid fines.

Please note that a road inspector may ask to see a properly completed report of the circle checks performed over the past six months! Failure to provide such a report means that you may be subject to a fine of up to $700 if the inspector detects a defect himself/herself.

Did you know?

Studies prove that mechanical defects involving brakes, tires, wheels and coupling are a key factor in more than 10% of heavy vehicle accidents. They are also a significant contributor to lost productivity in the passenger/goods transportation industry.

However, most of these defects can be detected if the vehicle is properly inspected before it is driven.