Learn the basics for staying prepared and compliant in the event of an audit
Motor carriers and other fleet owners are obligated under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) Ruling 396.11 regarding vehicle inspections, maintenance, and repairs. Motor carriers and fleet owners are required to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all motor vehicles and inter-modal equipment under its control.
As part of this ruling, Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) are a requirement for commercial vehicle drivers. In the past, DVIRs were filled out by hand at the beginning and end of each driving day. Today’s electronic DVIR technology eliminates the tedious hand-work while still achieving compliance.
Vehicle inspections are an essential part of a commercial vehicle driver’s routine. This crucial step ensures vehicles stay in good condition so they’re safer on the roads and in compliance with federal regulations. An electronic DVIR is a paperless, or digital, driver vehicle inspection report. Like a paper DVIR, it must be completed daily by commercial vehicles drivers for any commercial vehicle they operate.
Under Federal Law 49 CFR 396.11 and 396.13, drivers are obligated to fulfill and document the following inspection requirements:
Drivers must document certain information about every vehicle they operate during their work day. This may include identifiers such as:
Identification Number (VIN)
Drivers must complete an inspection before and after each trip and upon completion of the day’s work. A DVIR has to be completed for each vehicle the driver operates during their work day. At a minimum, the following must be inspected and reported on:
Brakes(Including Hand Brakes, Trailer Brakes, and Connections)
Vehicle Lights and Reflectors
Vehicle and Trailer Tires, Wheels, and Rims
Rear Vision and Side Mirrors
Bear in mind these are the minimum federal requirements for pre- and post-trip inspections. Carriers and fleet owners may require drivers to fulfill additional inspection requirements as well.
The purpose of commercial vehicle inspections is to ensure that they are safe to operate on the roadways. The driver must thoroughly inspect the vehicle to find any defects that could cause the vehicle to break down, or that could affect safety. If any are found, a report must be filed detailing the defect. This report must include:
List of Any Defect or Deficiency Discovered
Signature of Mechanic or Company Official
Motor carriers are responsible for ensuring that action is taken on any reported defects or deficiencies listed in a DVIR before a driver is allowed to operate the vehicle. If a repair is deemed unnecessary, the motor carrier must note this in the DVIR report and officials or mechanics must also sign off.
One of the problems with paper driver vehicle inspection reports is the space their delicate nature. Paper is easily torn, wrinkled, or otherwise disfigured making it difficult to read. It’s also bulky and inconvenient for the driver. Back at the office, DVIR records have to be kept for three months after the report was written. Storing these records takes up huge amounts of space for a larger carrier.
Electronic DVIRs fulfill the record keeping requirements and require no physical space.
Records are updated in real-time – no lag time between inspection and reporting.
Records are readily available for viewing in case of a review or audit.
More efficient than hand-filing individual DVIRs, and maintaining large filing systems.
When combined with an electronic logging device (ELD), an electronic DVIR ensures that all the FMSCA record keeping requirements are met. What’s more, an electronic DVIR helps fleet owners better manage the maintenance schedule for their vehicles, thus reducing repairs and vehicle downtime.
Vehicle inspections are routine for commercial drivers, but they’re not necessarily their favorite part of the job. In fact, filling out DVIR forms can be a challenge even on the best days. Finding the right form, a pen that works, and the last DVIR are tough enough, but then there’s repetitive data to enter. If there’s a noted defect, the report has to be filed and reviewed so repairs can begin. It’s tedious.
An electronic DVIR allows the driver to use their smartphone or tablet to enter information, complete checklists, and even sign their report. Commercial drivers are on tight deadlines and anything that helps them stay on schedule is always welcome. Checking off inspection points and moving through screens when prompted is faster than handwriting and ensures the inspection is thorough. What’s more, an electronic DVIR allows drivers to take photos of defects and time-stamp their reports.
It’s human nature to make mistakes, like misfiling a report, or missing an important detail. Some drivers may not have the most legible handwriting and that can cause confusion. It’s essential that everyone on the team from the driver to the mechanic be able to read and understand the report. What’s more, it has to be filed properly so it can be retrieved due to an audit or review. Electronic DVIRs address all of these issues by creating uniform reports that are easily accessible to team members at every level.
A truck that’s in the shop for repairs isn’t making the company any money. In fact, it’s costing money. Keeping fleet vehicles in good operating condition means catching problems before they get too big. An electronic DVIR routes defect reports instantly to the service department to alert them of the need for repairs. When photos are attached to the report, it helps speed up the evaluation process so repairs can be completed sooner.
Every motor carrier has unique vehicles that require their own custom inspection form. For example, a carrier with trucks and trailers will need form specific to each type of truck and trailer they own and operate. When multiple custom forms are available, it can be confusing for a driver. Using an electronic DVIR, carriers can attach the right form to each asset ensuring that the driver always completes the right form.
If you’re interested in learning more about how electronic DVIRs can help your motor carrier company or fleet, contact us at Whip Around.
We’ll be happy to discuss your needs. Our DVIR solutions are designed to give you and your team complete control over their daily vehicle inspections. We understand how important it is to keep your vehicles on the road, and that vehicle maintenance is key.