Half of heavy goods vehicles inspected at the roadside by the Road Safety Authority in the last three years have had roadworthiness defects, writes Brian Byrne.

The RSA inspected an average of 9,500 vehicles in each of the last three years, and found that a fifth had minor defects, a quarter had major defects and 4pc had dangerous defects.

The most common major defects detected includes faulty lighting systems, excessively worn braking components and defective anti- lock braking systems which are designed to help drivers maintain steering control in emergency situations.

Owners, users or drivers of a commercial vehicle are legally required to ensure that a walk-around check of the vehicle is carried out once in every 24-hour period before it is used on a public road.