If you’re the owner of a fleet, optimization needs to be your mantra. You want a business that’s a well-oiled, efficient machine. Doing so reduces costs, increases output and profit, and removes much of the uncertainty that surrounds the freight industry. Naturally, there are steps your drivers can take to help your fleet continue to raise the bar. One such measure that they should be performing with each drive is the Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). Also known as a post-trip inspection, a DVIR is one of the simplest ways you can reduce liability and increase efficiency.
You might read this and think, but aren’t DVIRs already mandatory? The answer to that is yes; however, it’s also one of the most common areas where drivers fail to comply. So, if you wish to prevent that, take the following measures to ensure that your fleet is following safety standards.
Post-Trip Inspections: Your New Secret Weapon
According to 49 CFR § 396.11, titled the Driver vehicle inspection report(s), motor carriers are obligated to have their drivers prepare a written vehicle report at the end of each workday. The report is meant to detail the condition of parts and accessories and make note of any glaring issues.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the law states:
“No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver is satisfied that the following parts and accessories are in good working order, nor shall any driver fail to use or make use of such parts and accessories when and as needed: Service brakes, including trailer brake connection, parking (hand) brake, steering mechanism, lighting devices and reflectors, tires, horn, windshield wiper or wipers, rear-vision mirror or mirrors, coupling devices, wheels and rims, emergency equipment.”
Despite the fact that this has been a rule for years, failure to perform a proper post-trip inspection is one of the most commonly cited violations that occur during audits. It’s easy to understand why this occurs:
Tired drivers – After a long day driving, often, the last thing your driver wants to do is spend an additional 30 minutes inspecting their vehicle. They make the false assumption that if the truck was running flawlessly, then there would be no need for repairs. The TPIA inspection will also greatly reduce inspection time (see below).
The notion that the pre-trip check will cover it – Employee drivers shouldn’t lose any money if their truck doesn’t run since that falls on the carrier. As a result, they’re often willing to let the driver responsible for the pre-trip inspection make note of any issues.
In addition, they may be lazier about their inspection. They might go through the motions without performing as thorough a check as they should since they know the pre-trip check can flag any glaring issues.
Benefits of Post-Trip Inspections
Encouraging your drivers to comply with the rules has several benefits to your fleet operation. These include:
Decrease your liability – Failure to comply with legal requirements can result in serious liability issues. For instance, these types of crashes can leave your freight company vulnerable to serious liability issues:
Property damage; and
Increase efficiency – Few things ruin a carrier’s credibility more than shipping delays. If a truck breaks down or needs to be in the shop for repairs (particularly repairs that could’ve been avoided had they been pointed out earlier), your entire operation slows down. Nipping issues in the bud ensures that fixes can be made immediately.
Also, pointing out small issues saves you money on repairs since it is more cost-effective to have minor maintenance and patch-ups than it is to replace parts or vehicles wholesale.
Keeps you in compliance – If your drivers repeatedly fail to perform and log their post-trip inspections, your company will inevitably receive compliance safety and accountability (CSA) violations during audits. Violations can result in any of the following consequences:
Increase the frequency of audits on your business
Raise your insurance rates
Make it harder to entice high-quality drivers to work for you
Decrease trust in your operation
How TPIA Helps You Optimize Post-Trip Inspections
Seeing that this continues to be a glaring issue for carriers, TPIA sought a way to optimize post-trip inspections. They found their solution in the form of a mobile post-trip inspection application. This app allows drivers to go through a streamlined post-trip checklist—taking pictures of each part—instead of having to make physical notations of glaring issues. In fact, many trucking carriers start with a streamlined version that verifies the five most important items are inspected:
Trailer hook securely fastened in fifth wheel
Tread depth of tires acceptable
Brakes properly adjusted
All lights in working condition
Placard positioning appropriate
Benefits of using the app include:
Speeds up the process
Consolidates reports in one place
Removes needless paperwork and documentation
The TPIA app has brought DVIRs into the 21st century. So, take advantage of this new secret weapon by requiring your drivers to download and use the app. It’ll optimize your logistics and ensure smooth sailing.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 49 CFR Parts 392 and 396. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Final%20Rule_DVIR_2_0_09-12-14.pdf
Rudick, Z. Fleetio. Safety and Compliance: Navigating the Complex World of DVIRs. (2017). https://www.fleetio.com/blog/safety-and-compliance-dvirs
Colley, J. Whip Around. What is DVIR (Driver Vehicle Inspection Report)? (2018). https://www.whip-around.com/blog/what-is-a-dvir-driver-vehicle-inspection-report