Planned preventative maintenance is one of the most important aspects of fleet ownership. It consists of daily driver vehicle inspections, regularly scheduled service, and completing necessary repairs. Creating such a strategy and implementing it ensures that problems are caught before a breakdown occurs.
The pre-trip inspection is a fundamental safety procedure best practiced by all CMV (commercial motor vehicle) operators to ensure safe over-the-road operation. A thorough pre-trip inspection checklist is required to eliminate all possible mechanical or safety issues before departure to ensure smooth over-the-road operations. Identifying damage or maintenance issues early on should be the first step.
As of May 17th, 2018, streamlined efficient fleet management is a requirement for federal level government fleets. That sounds like a job for Whip Around (WA). Streamlined reporting and compliance have already made the Whip Around app an industry leader in the private sector, bringing versatile DVIR capability to commercial fleets around the world. With WA, inspections can be carried out anytime, anywhere, and reports are available for decision makers on demand.
The FMCSA has set out clear regulation for DVIR - Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports. Fleets are now looking to electronic DVIR for efficiencies. Here are some questions and answers to help you ensure your fleet is compliant.
The regulations text of the section can be found on the eCFR website. To view the regulation, use the link below.
View regulations for Part 396
The trucking industry is heavily regulated at the state, federal, and international level. There are numerous rules and regulations that carriers must obey in order to legally operate, and achieve DOT compliance. The most complex federal rules and regulations pertain to vehicle licensing, trip permits, and the IFTA fuel tax. Navigating these rules can be a challenge, even for companies that have been in business for years. Despite this, it is imperative that carriers follow the letter of the law, otherwise they face stiff fines and penalties and may even risk losing their authority altogether.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) sets strict guidelines for the way that transport companies operate. Among the requirements is accurate record keeping. Fleet owners and drivers are expected to comply with the rules and regulations imposed by the DOT, or face stiff fines and penalties. Rules and regulations are continually updated and revised and it's imperative that fleet owners keep up with the changes to ensure compliance.
Commercial motor vehicles deliver billions of dollars of freight to United States destinations every year. Many of these loads include heavy items such as vehicles, containers, lumber, and concrete pipes. Transportation companies are responsible for ensuring that these goods are safely positioned and secured on commercial vehicles. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has established guidelines and rules to help ensure that loads are properly secured in order to prevent loads from shifting or accidentally dumped during the shipping process. Below are six DOT load securing compliance tips for companies in the transportation and construction industries.
If you own or manage a fleet of commercial vehicles, you know that DOT Compliance is an integral part of your job. You also know that employing the best drivers is paramount to maintaining your reputation, ensuring standards, and delivering the best to your customers and clients. It's important to integrate Department of Transportation guidelines with your hiring and employment process, so that you're not only finding the most qualified drivers for the job—but also satisfying federal and state regulations.
Breaking down DOT and FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regulations can be complex, which is why we've compiled some tips on driver training and qualification. From Hazmat training to drug and alcohol testing to complicated Endorsements for your CDL drivers, here's a quick breakdown:
DOT compliance is essential to fostering the safe transport of cars, shipping containers, concrete piping, and other heavy cargo. A compliance inspection can occur at any time, highlighting the importance of bolstering compliance among drivers and other employees. Below is a look at DOT compliance and the increasingly critical role it plays for businesses in the transportation and construction industries.
As a fleet manager for commercial vehicles, you always want to safeguard the health of your business. From hiring the best employees to streamlining DVIR practices for your drivers, we understand that everything you do works towards upholding standards for your enterprise.
That's why we aim to break down some of the complexities surrounding DOT Compliance and adherence to FMCSA guidelines. If your commercial business is involved with transporting hazardous materials, then you already know there are a bunch of regulations in place to stay DOT Compliant. Let's talk hazardous material transportation: who's liable to the regulations? What counts as hazardous material? And how do your drivers signal what they're transporting?
If you manage, or own a fleet, of commercial vehicles, we don't need to tell you that DOT Compliance can be a complex aspect of your job. Especially when it comes to making sure your drivers are compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCSA) rules, it's important to break down each regulation carefully.
And the FMCSA's Drug & Alcohol Testing Program is no exception. It's in place to make sure that the drivers on America's roadways are safe and sober, so it's a key element of DOT Compliance. Our goal is to help you sift through some of the complexities of Drug & Alcohol Testing, so you and your team can take to the road with confidence.
We know that DOT compliance in the USA can be daunting. Though Federal regulations are in place to make sure fleet managers and drivers are operating safe vehicles on America's roadways, sifting through the information on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) website can be a little confusing.
Here, we're hoping to help break down one of the crucial elements of the DOT Compliance: the DVIR, or Driver Vehicle Inspection Report. What is DVIR? What does it entail? What are the record-keeping requirements? Why is it important to stay compliant?:
Driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIR) are already an integral part of managing your fleet. So, when it comes to how best to coordinate this critical task, the question isn’t so much whether DVIR is worth the effort — it absolutely is — but how best to go about satisfying this requirement and maintaining the protection it affords you and your business.
Electronic DVIR gives you the chance to revolutionize your approach to filing detailed reports, even presenting you with the capability to conduct pre-trip inspections on your phone. It’s a whole new day for DVIR. So let’s delve into how this latest tool works and how it can facilitate your business.
A MODERN SOLUTION
In the old days, DVIR would present you with a record of your vehicle’s condition, one which could serve as evidence to both the vehicle’s condition if an accident should occur and which ensures that the likelihood of any such incident would be minimized. After all, vehicle collisions are among the most common causes of death.
Thankfully, eDVIR plays the same essential role in your fleet management, albeit with a streamlined methodology that emphasizes ease of use and accuracy above all else. Drivers still need to complete and submit forms before and after each trip, but electronic reports allow for a level of customization and access that just isn’t possible by traditional means.
What once proved to be a burden actually creates a smoother environment for all. While drivers will find these electronic forms so much more accessible, you’ll be able to shed the worry about when you’ll receive the latest inspection reports and how to proceed. eDVIR uses a cloud-based system, meaning you’ll be able to evaluate reports instantly and leap into action to address any outstanding concerns.
In general, this new system facilitates the your ability to keep your fleet running strong and eliminates the need for copious paperwork. Less work and a more streamlined process make less work for everyone involved and boost your fleet’s capacity to handle each project in a timely manner.
THE FULL ADVANTAGE
You’ve already assembled a winning team, but the way you do business very likely could use a tune-up. So let’s break down some of the key benefits that eDVIR offers. First, we’ve alluded to the time savings already, but seeing as time is one of the most limited resources you need, this aspect of eDVIR stands above all others.
Since you can build and customize your own forms, inspection reports can be completed in a fraction of the time they once were and, thanks to the mobile capability, they can be completed from anywhere at anytime via a smartphone or other mobile device. Simply log in to the system, complete the form and submit it, and it is automatically saved in the system and added to the unlimited storage of your archives.
This ability to have the latest information right at your fingertips makes it that much easier to schedule necessary maintenance and repairs, keeping you one step ahead of your competitors. Moreover, the simplified forms reduce the chance that human error will interfere with your operation. After all, you never know when you’ll need to submit your full reports for audit.
You’ll already have them ready in waiting in your digital storage space, but now you’ll be far more confident in how well they’ll reflect the activities of your fleet. Once you give eDVIR a try, we know you’ll see the difference instantly and probably wonder why you spent so long wasting time on its paper-based counterpart.
CHECKING IT TWICE
Though the system is vastly modernized, eDVIR still functions like the DVIR you’re used to. You’ll still need to run through a checklist of inspection points just like you’re filling out a paper form. You’ll simply be doing so from the convenience of your mobile device. Here are the most important elements you’ll need to review before starting a new trip:
Brakes: Your vehicle has many critical parts that must be working properly to ensure the safety of your drivers and others on the road. Needless to say, your brakes are among the most important. Of course, don’t forget your service and parking brakes.
Steering and horn: Your driver’s ability to accurately pilot the vehicle without incident depends on the soundness of the steering mechanism. But don’t forget to verify that your horn is working as it should. If something does go wrong, this is the best way to let others know.
Tires and wheels: When you’re on the road as much as your fleet is, your tires certainly take the bulk of the damage. If they don’t have sufficient tread on them, you could be heading for disaster. So be mindful of the condition of your tires and wheels before you hit the road, including whether your tires simply need a bit of air first.
Lights and reflectors: Like your tires, your lights reflect the natural wear and tear that occurs when you’re always on the road. Check that they are all working properly and all that reflectors are attached. You’d be surprised how often such a simple item can make a life-changing difference.
Windshield wipers and mirrors: Especially when you’re driving a large commercial vehicle, your mirrors are your greatest hope to orient yourself with the other cars on the road. Likewise, your windshield wipers defend against the changing conditions you may encounter and require frequent replacement.
Emergency kit: If you do find yourself in a dire situation, an emergency kit filled with maintenance repair items and other must-haves can really come in handy. You never know what might happen out there. So your best bet is to be ready for a crisis if one does occur.
A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
We can’t imagine you’re still doubting how eDVIR can enhance your fleet management skills, but if you do need more information about how it compares to traditional DVIR, you might want to check out our handy infographic. The benefits of taking your inspection reports into the modern world are already apparent, and the technology is quickly on its way to becoming the standard-bearer throughout the industry.
Don’t let your competition get an edge on you, especially when eDVIR can maximize your productivity and efficiency in such a significant way. To get started for free, visit our website and sign up for a demo of Whip Around today.
Fleet managers have a wide and seemingly endless array of responsibilities -- assigning drivers to cars, managing supply chain issues, promoting, hiring, firing and so much more. Staying on top of pre-trip vehicle inspections can feel like little more than another headache, and a meaningless hassle.
Yet these pre-trip vehicle inspections are non negotiable. A driver-vehicle inspection report (DVIR) is a key part of your daily operations. Here’s why inspections are so important -- and what you can do to make them a bit less stressful.
IT’S THE LAW
DVIRs are more than just a burden imposed on employees by employers. They’re required under federal law. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires pre-trip inspections before each haul. The driver must be satisfied that all parts are in good working order. If they’re not, the vehicle must be repaired before anyone can drive it.
Some important highlights of the law include:
Companies aren’t required to use any specific form, but they are required to use a form that ensures all major parts of the vehicle are fully inspected and in good working order.
The inspection must occur before each daily haul. So a driver taking a multi-day trip must perform an inspection each day.
The driver or company must certify that the inspection has occurred, and that all parts are safe and in good working order.
Companies that fail to comply with the law can land in serious trouble. They may be fined or even lose licenses or certifications. This can cost your company lots of money, and may even cost you your job. Though inspections can be a pain, the cost of not doing them is much higher. Do you really want to spend your day explaining a failure to inspect a vehicle, or testifying in a deposition?
IT KEEPS PEOPLE SAFE
Pre-trip inspections keep people safe -- both truckers and motorists. Trucks are massive vehicles, and a minor issue on a truck is not like a minor issue on a car. Consider how a flat tire on a truck can cause a multi-car pileup, or how an item flying out of the back of a trailer could be fatal to motorists.
Likewise, a major accident could injure or even kill a driver. Your drivers are the backbone of your company. They're also human beings with lives and families. So it’s important to help them understand that pre-trip inspections are for their own safety as well. Driving a truck is one of the deadliest jobs in the U.S., with nearly 800 truckers dying on the road each year. Pre-trip inspections make driving safer for everyone.
Research has shown that a leading cause of trucking accidents is vehicle maintenance issues. Failure to complete a pre-trip inspection in compliance with the law is also a leading cause of trucking suits. This is why it’s so critically important to perform daily comprehensive inspections -- not just perfunctory reviews that involve little more than checking off a few boxes.
IT TRACKS PATTERNS OVER TIME
Does it feel like a truck is always broken, or like you’re spending too much money on tires? Pre-trip inspection reports help you track trends over time. This can help you determine whether there's a problem with a truck, a mechanic, a part, a driver or something else.
You might find that vehicles tend to break more after being serviced by a particular mechanic. Or perhaps you have more trouble with your trucks whom a specific trucker drives. Identifying these patterns can help you prevent them from spiraling out of control. This can save you money, and may even save lives on the road.
IT CAN PROTECT YOUR COMPANY
Sooner or later, there will be an accident or injury. It could be unavoidable, because of a tire that blows. Or it might be because a driver made a simple but costly error. In either scenario, you will eventually have to answer for what happened.
What will you say to the lawyer in depositions? How will you provide information about the vehicle’s history? How can you prove that you were committed to safety at all times, and that trucks were diligently and consistently inspected?
This is where pre-trip inspections come into play. They act as a sort of due diligence, serving as evidence of a consistent commitment to safety. They show that you have properly and timely inspected your vehicles and made repairs. They show a commitment to compliance with the law. They may even reveal a problem with a part. For instance, if many trucking companies have problems with the same part, this could mean that the part is the problem and needs to be recalled.
Without these inspection reports, you may look negligent. This can be used against you in court, and in the court of public opinion. Regular inspections -- plus intelligent storing of the DVIRs they produce -- are key to protecting your company.
MAKING PRE-TRIP INSPECTIONS LESS STRESSFUL
At Whip Around, we understand that pre-trip inspections are vital to your company’s operations, to driver safety, and to safer roads. We also know that these inspections can be a massive pain. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to keep truckers safe and minimize hassle.
We offer customizable forms. Simply check a few boxes and build your own forms. This makes it easier for drivers to understand inspection requirements, and can reduce their temptation to cut corners by simply checking a few boxes. Our forms encourage drivers to really commit to safety inspections.
Because we store the forms for you, we also put an end to messy offices and endless piles of paper. If you need a form at any time for any reason, it’s searchable and readily accessible. No more clutter. No more lost documents. No more concerns about fines, lawsuits, or failure to comply with government regulations.
You have enough on your plate. Stop worrying about pre-trip inspections. Let us do the heavy lifting, so you can get back to the business of running your fleet. Ready to learn more? Call us today to learn how we can help you!