The DOT has a system that collects data from all weight stations and roadside inspections and using it to assign scores to the carriers. It is important that you understand the 6 levels of DOT Inspection and make sure you are prepared for each to avoid hitches in operations.
This year's Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) international roadcheck, the largest enforcement program for commercial motor vehicles, will take place June 4-6 and focus on steering and suspension systems alongside general maintenance. During the three day event, popularly dubbed the 'inspection blitz,' truck drivers can expect to undergo a thorough examination of their vehicle and engine. These inspections will take place at inspection sites, weigh stations and patrol locations along major highways and roadways across the United States and Canada.
How many times have you wished you could streamline the way in which you manage your fleet? With everything that goes into it, we know that the task brings more than its share of headaches and obligations. Take, for instance, the driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIR) your company needs to file before and after every single trip.
While the necessity of DVIR is unquestioned (we’ll get into that shortly), you might still find yourself craving an easier approach, one that eliminates much of the pain that goes into completing, filing and overseeing these reports. You might even dream of some way you can retain more of your organization’s precious resources. Well, may we humbly introduce you to the magic of eDVIR.
An electronic alternative to DVIR, eDVIR offers an opportunity to sharpen the accuracy of your report checklist, streamline your processes and save tons of time while doing so. In fact, this emerging tool is quickly gaining popularity throughout the industry, giving way to a long-overdue revolution of the outdated paper-based system.
While it is not our intention to directly pit paper-based DVIR against eDVIR (after all, the choice is ultimately yours), it is critical for the long-term success of your company that you stay abreast of all the latest trends that might offer a better way to boost productivity and outfox your competition. eDVIR could be just the solution you’re looking for, and since DVIR is an unavoidable challenge, you might as well find a simpler methodology for achieving that goal.
From time to time, the rigors of fleet management can become too much. With all the work that goes into maintaining each vehicle and supervising each driver, you may have caught yourself subconsciously searching for some way to streamline the processes involved in your day-to-day operation.
Although the industry is making remarkable strides across the board to change with the times, one area that is making particular progress is the driver’s vehicle inspection report (DVIR). Traditionally, these critical documents were simply put on paper, an approach that was functional once upon a time but has slipped into obsolescence with the advent of technology. Now fleet managers like you can take advantage of a fully electronic version of DVIR, better known as eDVIR.
That being said, it’s still essential that your fleet’s DVIR — no matter which format you use in your business — includes all of the key components that you need to effectively document your driver's’ activity and the condition of your vehicles. That’s why we’re providing you with a one-stop checklist that you can reference to create, complete and submit high-quality DVIR every single time.
Failing to keep these on record could create a disastrous scenario for your business, and as the applicable requirements are subject to change, you need to ensure that you remain compliant at all times and that your files are up-to-date. So let’s delve into precisely what you should be checking for in each DVIR as well as the tools necessary to create the best reports possible.
WHAT YOU NEED TO INCLUDE
With as much driving as your team does, wear and tear of your vehicles is a real concern. Just take a moment to consider all the miles each vehicle in your fleet racks up over the course of each day or week. So much constant motion and dealing with variable road conditions certainly takes its toll.
However, if you’re going to build a checklist designed to minimize risk, you have to know what to look for so that you can take action before problems arise. After all, an in-depth inspection can make all the difference and even prevent tragedy if it is performed correctly.
To that end, let’s break down some of the most essential parts of your vehicle your drivers should be sure to check when completing each day’s DVIR.
If any of the below are faulty or broken, the safety of your vehicle might be compromised, resulting in a potentially hazardous journey on the road.
Brakes: Depending on the kind of vehicle being inspected, you might need to keep a close eye on trailer brake connections, but at the very least, be sure to double-check your service and parking brakes. For obvious reasons, any kind of malfunction here could have catastrophic consequences. So your brakes should always be among the first items on any DVIR checklist.
Steering and horn: No matter what steering mechanism your vehicle uses, the consistent usage of any vehicle in your fleet could adversely affect it. As with brakes, steering is a no-brainer addition to your inspection checklist, but even so, it’s easy to overlook such an obvious element. A driver’s ability to steer the vehicle is tantamount to his or her ability to act at a moment’s notice. Before hitting the road, ensure that everything is as it should be. Yes, including your car horn.
Tires and wheels: We haven’t conducted a scientific study about which part of a vehicle drivers tend to most overlook, but if we did, we wouldn’t be surprised if tires topped the list. From simply failing to ensure that your tires have enough air to not replacing them in a timely manner, tire maintenance is all too often not taken into account. So be sure that your vehicle’s tires are adequately filled and not too worn. Moreover, your wheels and rims should be inspected and secure as well.
Lights and reflectors: Headlights, taillights and brake lights are all key elements of safe driving, and of course, you need to account for each of these before you hit the road, especially in a commercial vehicle. But you’ll also want to verify that all reflectors are secure and in working order, especially since your drivers never know what kind of conditions they’ll be traveling in. Proper lighting is your first line of defense against the rain, snow or other stormy weather you might encounter.
Windshield wipers and mirrors: Much like your vehicle’s lights, switching out the windshield wipers regularly and checking for damage to both the rear-view and side-view mirrors helps to boost visibility and increase safety for everyone on the road. Anything you can do to optimize performance of your vehicle and prepare it for any situation is a tremendous help regardless of what you’re driving. For large commercial vehicles, it’s even more vital.
Emergency kit: Although the bulk of your inspection centers on the condition of the vehicle in question, it also extends to being sure that you are carrying emergency items at all times. They might be maintenance and repair items like a tire gauge, jumper cables and a fire extinguisher or something simpler like a first-aid kit. The important part is that all your vehicles have what they need to take action if a crisis occurs.
Once you’ve verified all of the above are covered, note the make and model of the vehicle and any action items you need to take to ensure that all requirements are met. Priority should be given to any issues that threaten the safety of the vehicle, as they need to be addressed before driving continues. Then make note that these updates have been made. And, of course, don’t forget to sign the report at the end!
CREATING YOUR PROCESS
By its very definition, DVIR necessitates daily repetition and, as such, is best implemented as part of a routine. For instance, inspections should be performed both at the beginning of each trip and after its completion, as mandated by regulations. Such an approach provides optimal coverage, since the operational safety of a vehicle can be affected throughout the course of a single journey.
Both the pre-trip and post-trip reports need to be signed before submission and should remain on file for at least three month. In addition, DVIR should also account for mid-route equipment or trailer changes. To clarify the pre-trip and post-trip inspections further, we’ll look into what is involved in both types of inspections.
Pre-Trip: Oftentimes, the pre-trip side of your inspection is pretty straightforward. The end goal, of course, remains complete satisfaction that the vehicle you’re about to drive is in safe operating condition. Typically, the first step is to review the previous day’s DVIR. If there are any action items that have yet to be completed, these must be resolved before the next trip begins. This level of redundancy creates a system of checks and balances that prevents a driver from operating a vehicle with potentially deadly defects. Once this has been verified, the driver must review and sign off.
Post-Trip: The post-trip end of DVIR is where the real work usually happens. At the end of each day, the driver must file a detailed written DVIR listing any condition he or she discovered that might compromise the safety or integrity of the vehicle. If they require immediate attention, these must be dealt with and certifications issued for each repair. Conversely, the driver must confirm in the report if any defects found do not need to be addressed urgently or if no such defects were found at all. Naturally, such a review of any outstanding damages will be conducted again before the vehicle is sent out (see above).
WHY YOU NEED DVIR
Sure, all these inspection points and processes sound like a major headache. But rest assured, it all has a very important part to play in keeping your business running smoothly and as safely as possible. In fact, even though DVIR is mandatory for your business, the entire process does offer a ton of benefits for your business. Here are just a few to consider.
Stay updated on maintenance: Small tasks like checking oil levels and changing lights might not take a lot of time out of your drivers’ day, but they do ensure that your vehicles are properly maintained, thus extending the number of years they’ll remain in peak condition.
Reduced chance of tickets: Because your drivers remain on top of those small maintenance tasks, their vehicles are far less likely to get dinged by the authorities for simply having a tail light out or failing to have a working turn signal. Once you take a moment to consider the extent of DVIR, you’ll be amazed at how it affects every element of your business.
Fewer accidents: Safety is the ultimate goal of DVIR. So it’s no surprise that thorough inspection that rules out many of the causes of traffic accidents will have a direct effect on the number of on-road issues your fleet will face over the big picture.
Cheaper insurance: This one comes in tandem with the previous entry, but it’s undeniable that minimizing the number of accidents your vehicles are involved in will help to keep insurance costs down. All just because you kept a close eye on your vehicles and maintained a DVIR backlog.
Decreased need for repairs: Even if your drivers are on top of their inspections, you’ll still need to spring for repairs every now and then. But keeping DVIR a key part of your business will reduce the amount of immediate, short-term repairs you’ll have to deal with. Parts can be ordered ahead of time, and you can schedule repairs without having to worry about keeping your drivers on the road. This not only saves you the time of having to wait for availability — potentially putting a vehicle out of commission for a while — but also helps to keep your repair costs down in the long term. In both cases, consider DVIR a definite win.
Boost morale: When your drivers are seen handling a pristine-looking and smooth-operating vehicle, that can only draw positive attention from customers, helping to increase sales and giving you a competitive edge. Likewise, your drivers will feel an enhanced sense of pride in their work and hold you in higher esteem for being so invested in the quality of their work and the condition of their vehicles.
Increased productivity: When you and your drivers aren’t bogged down by all of the above concerns, you’ll find that you’ll be able to stay more focused on the job at hand. That means less downtime for your drivers, who can continue their work without the headache, and the ability for you and your entire team to focus on how to improve your business, from customer service to the day-to-day back-end processes that govern it all.
INSPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Sometimes, you may fall into the false belief that DVIR has little direct purpose in your business, short of meeting an industry-wide regulatory need. However, as tedious as the steps above may seem, don’t lose sight of the integral role that these reports play in keeping your team functioning at its absolute best.
When your business is as potentially fraught with chaos, accountability and shrewd record-keeping are a necessity to both maintain a high level of quality service and protect the long-term prospects of your fleet. The extreme detail included in each DVIR is intended to prevent the opportunity for something to go wrong and for your driver (and your reputation, by extension) to be found culpable for any incident that occurs.
While we naturally advocate for the adoption of eDVIR, the necessity for DVIR of any type has never been stronger. These reports will be the one element that stands between your business and a potential lawsuit, and you need to place them as a priority if you haven’t yet fully adopted them into your daily operation.
Your team looks to you to set the tone for how best to conduct themselves and what processes they need to follow to complete their jobs effectively. This needs to include DVIR. With the checklist we’ve provided above, you have precious few excuses for not implementing or improving upon a DVIR protocol for your business.
Just imagine the difference that such an initiative would make throughout your business, and with any luck, you’ll realize that the rewards that lie ahead far outweigh the short-sighted inconveniences that DVIR may bring.
A driver-vehicle inspection report -- known better as a pre-trip inspection -- is designed to ensure a vehicle is in good working order and safe to take out on the road. Federal law requires a daily inspection, as well as a report to document the inspection, but does not require drivers to use any specific form. So what exactly are you looking for during a pre-trip inspection? These vital safety inspections have several key components.
CHECK THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT
The engine compartment check includes an inspection with the vehicle turned off. Drivers should look for any and all problems with the engine, its parts, or the area under the hood.
The law requires them to inspect:
belt driven alternator
belt driven water pump
CAB CHECK AND ENGINE START
With the engine running, drivers must check the cab while monitoring for any problems while the engine is running. One often-overlooked area is the cleanliness of the cab itself. An unclean cab presents a serious hazard because any loose items can become projectiles in the event of a crash or sudden stop.
Other things drivers are required to check include:
seat belt, including whether it buckles securely and whether there are any signs of fraying
air pressure gauges
emergency equipment, including opening and inspecting the emergency box, not just checking to ensure it is present
oil pressure gauge
water temperature gauge
windshield washers and wipers
Any unusual sounds with the engine, odors associated with starting the vehicle, rattling sounds, or other signs of mechanical trouble must be noted on the inspection form.
Large vehicles are more dependent on their brakes than small cars, because these vehicles must be able to quickly and safely stop. A brake check is critical for safety, since even minor brake issues can become life-threatening.
Be sure to check:
the parking brake
the service brake
Much of the brake check is part of the external cab check, and the brakes should not be considered safe until the external cab check fully inspects them.
The external cab check reveals much about how the vehicle is operating. Check for obvious broken parts, or signs that there might be internal wear and tear -- things like rusting wheel rims or dents in the hood.
Important components of the external cab check include:
checking the suspension, including springs, mounts, and shock absorbers
external brake components, including slack adjusters, brake hoses, brake lines, brake chambers, drum brake or rotor, and brake linings
wheels, including rims, lug nuts, tires, spacers, axles, and axle seals
the side of the car, including battery box and exhaust system, drive shaft, frame, fuel tank, doors, and mirrors
doors, ties, lifts, and splash guards at the rear of the vehicle
tractor and coupling components, including catwalk, mounting bolts, locking jaws, electric and air lines, locking pins, platform, release arm, and kingpin, apron, and gap
Problems with the trailer can be extremely dangerous. Not only do they pose a threat to the driver and other motorists. Trailer issues can also endanger the load a driver is hauling, costing time and money.
Be sure to check:
lifts, doors, and ties
locking pins and tandem release arm
CUSTOM CHECKLISTS: WHY THE BARE MINIMUM LEGAL REQUIREMENTS AREN’T ENOUGH
You know you have to complete DVIR checklists before your vehicles can legally go on the road. But the push to comply with the law can distract from a more fundamental goal: the need to keep drivers safe, to protect motorists, and to keep your vehicle's operating soundly for as long as possible.
So don’t focus solely on meeting the minimum threshold. Consider how custom checklists can promote better safety and a healthier work environment. For example, simply blocking the wheels during an inspection with the engine running can prevent catastrophes. By adding this item to your checklist, you increase the likelihood that drivers will actually do it.
Likewise, providing specific instructions-- “kick the wheels; note any rust”-- you increase driver compliance well above that which you could expect with a simple list of items to inspect. You need custom checklists that drivers can understand and follow quickly and efficiently. That’s precisely what Whip Around offers.
OTHER INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS
It’s not enough to simply check off a few boxes and put a vehicle on the road. Indeed, the law specifically forbids such cursory checks. A pre-trip inspection requires the driver to completely check each component of the vehicle, note any problems on the form, and then submit the form. From there, any defects must be repaired before the vehicle can be taken back on the road.
Failure to repair defects can cost a company dearly. If there is an incident with the car, then your failure to repair defects could give rise to lawsuits, fines, and bad publicity. Additionally, investigators may request copies of DVIRs from immediately before any incidents. If these forms indicate cursory checks or are not available, your company could be in trouble.
WHY GOING DIGITAL IS THE SOLUTION
Whip Around allows companies to build custom DVIR forms that are elegant, simple, and easy to follow for drivers and managers alike. Our digital approach makes inspections easy, allows you to assign repairs to mechanics, and assists you to track repairs so you can plan schedules and deliveries.
Better still, we end the pile of paper that may have taken over your office. By going digital, you’ll gain access to searchable forms that reveal important information about your vehicle's’ history. If you need a form, it’s readily available -- no more stress, no more fines, and no more paper.
Whip Around is easy for drivers, effective for managers, and a game changer for owners. It’s a win for everyone.
A pre-trip fleet vehicle inspection, as its name implies, is the inspection you should do of your fleet vehicles before you take off on a trip, to ensure your vehicle is safe to be on the road. What kinds of things should you be looking for in your inspection?
Today, we’ll break down:
A list of must-check items in your pre-trip inspection
Why you need to be doing a pre-trip inspection before every haul and
The fastest way to get it done so you can get back on the road faster
WHAT SHOULD YOU CHECK IN A PRE-TRIP FLEET VEHICLE INSPECTION
From the front to the back of your truck and everything in between, below is a list of items you should really check on to ensure your vehicle is road ready.
The first thing you should do is check under the hood. Every check should include:
Examining the wiring of electrical systems such as the ignition, steering, and headlights
Ensure all hoses are connected and look for for any leaks that may be present
Examine the windshield washer fluid and make sure the container is full
Checking air pressure in the air filter housing and air compressor
Evaluate the brake drums, brake mount, brake linings and shock absorbers
And make sure valve caps are securely fastened
Next, make your way to the left side of the cab. Here you’ll want to make sure nothing is attached that shouldn’t be, and that things like your mirrors, lights, steps, and even air vents are working properly. Check that doors close securely, the locks work, and that windows go up and down normally.
While you’re there, remove any obstructions and/or garbage that may be in the cab. After all, according to FleetOwner.com, “a tidy cab can often mean ‘move along,’” and you’ll be less likely to have a thorough inspection in the event you are pulled over for a spot check.
Another thing to check while in the left side of the cab is that there are no cracks to the windshield, and that the wipers and blades are working properly. It’s a good idea to check that signals and hazard lights are functioning correctly inside the cab as well.
After you’ve tidied the cab, make your way to the front of the trailer. Here, you’ll be looking to ensure things like reflective tape or reflectors are intact. You also should be evaluating the body panels looking for anything that seems cracked, coming apart, or just looks out of place.
Moving on now to the left wheels and tires. You want to ensure that the tires are correctly inflated with adequate pressure, and not damaged in anyway. Wheel nuts should tight, looks for bulges or cuts in the tire sidewalls, and check that your tread path is adequate. While on that side of the vehicle also check for any visible fluid leaks that could potentially be coming from the engine, fuel systems and/or the waste water tank.
Check the tires in the front, and then make your way towards the back of the trailer on the left side to check for the following:
Are the rear tires in good condition?
Are the tail lights working properly?
Is the toe coupling fitted securely?
Are all indicators, lights and hoses fitted, working properly, clean, and free from damage?
What about the splash guards? Do they need the be cleaned or replaced?
At the rear of the trailer ensure that the doors, hinges and bumper are all intact. Doors should close completely. Hooks and latches as well as locks must be functioning properly. Reflectors or reflective tape must be in good condition. Check for leaks that you may see at the back for any reason.
Then, move onto the right side of the trailer and right tires. Repeat the process of checking for leaks, reflectors or reflective tape, trailer panels, the tires are in good condition, etc.
When you get back up to the right side at the front of the trailer, again you will check everything you checked on the left side before hopping into the right side of the cab. Here you will once again make sure doors and windows are functioning properly, and remove any garbage or obstructions from this side as well.
Before departure close the hood, test the horn, turn signal, headlights and high beams, and all indicators. It’s also a good idea to make sure all seatbelts are working properly, check that the fire extinguisher has been serviced and is ready to be used if needed, and that your speedometer is working correctly.
THE MOST COMMONLY OVERLOOKED ITEMS IN A PRE-TRIP INSPECTION
After months or years of driving a truck, some drivers may tend to get a little lax in their pre-trip fleet vehicle inspection. As a result, there are many elements that start getting overlooked. The most common of these include, but aren’t limited to:
Cleaning the vehicle. This might seem like it’s no big deal, but the reality is that what’s in your cab could cause you trouble on the road.
For example, an empty bottle could get stuck under a pedal causing you to wreck. Or another piece of garbage could get wedged in a mechanical device causing it to malfunction. While these scenarios may seem unlikely, they can happen.
We also want to reiterate that having a lot of junk in your cab could make you a bigger target for a more thorough inspection on the road. The faster you can get through those checkpoints, the faster you can get back on the road. If time is money, then it could pay to keep your cab clean.
This is not just an interior issue either. It’s important to maintain the cleanliness of the exterior of the vehicle as well. It’s harder to see cracks and faults on your trailer that may need maintenance, if the vehicle is too dirty.
Your brake system. People often forget about the importance of their brakes until the moment they have a problem with them. With your truck having heavier loads, and your slower stop time, it’s that much more imperative that you thoroughly check your brakes. Check it all, and not with just a quick glance. The wear and tear your brakes face on a daily basis demands your added attention.
The fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. Do you have a first aid kit in your cab? You should, and it should be well stocked/refilled when things are used or expire. And, when was the last time your fire extinguisher was serviced? Is its safety pin intact, or does it look like it’s been tampered with? Are you keeping it secure in your cab? These are things you need to think about, but may often forget about them until you need them.
Chock your wheels. Chocks are there to avoid the vehicle accidentally moving before you’re ready for it to. It’s far too easy to forget to chock your wheels if you’re speeding through things. Think about everything you’ll be doing in your pre-trip fleet vehicle inspection - do you really want to risk something as large as your truck moving on you while you’re performing your evaluations?
WHY YOU NEED TO PERFORM A PRE-TRIP INSPECTION BEFORE EACH TRIP
Not to sound dark and ominous here, but for starters a pre-trip fleet vehicle inspection can save lives. A brake failure, blown out tire, faulty steering system, and a host of other issues could cause an accident that could in fact lead to a death. Perhaps even your own!
What if you didn’t ensure that your rear doors on your trailer were securely fastened? Your doors could blow open on the road, and when your haul flies out it could impale another vehicle.
Let’s say you didn’t make sure your headlights were working, and you’re suddenly in a remote part of town at night with faulty lights. Would you be able to see the road safely? Doubtful!
Doing these inspections is not busy work, or just something the boss wants you to do because he enjoys giving you a hard time. It’s about preventing as many accidents as possible.
Then again, we’d be lying if we said that is all your boss cares about. It’s not just about preventing accidents. It’s also about saving as much money as possible.
Pop quiz! What costs more money to fix?
A single flat tire
A flat tire plus fixing the rim (because you kept driving on the flat)
You guessed it! B is the right answer. This might be an extreme answer, but it speaks to the point that smaller and/or simpler repairs cost less to fix.
For example, if you had checked for leaks and found a fluid leak, you could have simply replaced a hose. If instead you let it go, the fluid could leak all over the engine and various systems under the hood wreaking havoc and causing significantly more expensive damage.
What’s the fastest way to make your mechanic rich, and make your boss cry? Let small repair goes unchecked, and end up needing a lot more done to the vehicle to get it road ready again.
Consider for a moment your own finances as well. If you work for a smaller fleet, you might not be able to simply drive a different truck while one is being worked on. Not only will your company be losing money while the truck is off the road, you might miss out on a paycheck. Talk about a lose-lose situation that could have been prevented.
We understand. Doing pre-trip inspections as often as you’re supposed to do them can feel tedious. Monotonous even. Sure, skipping one inspection here or there might not lead to any significant tragedies.
On the other hand, for something that really doesn’t take that much time in the grand scheme of things to do - do you really want to put your truck, your body and your company at risk by skipping it?
You may be thinking that the reason you don’t to them is because you feel it takes far too long to complete these inspections. And, if you’re using the old school pen and carbon copy paper method of doing them, we might agree with you. Luckily, there is a much better way to do inspections these days….Enter Whip Around.
THE FASTEST WAY TO COMPLETE A PRE-TRIP INSPECTION
Using the Whip Around app is hands down the fastest ways to do your pre-trip inspections. What is Whip Around you ask? It’s the revolutionary mobile application that is changing the game in terms of how motorists are handling their driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIR).
With Whip Around, you can throw out all those paper DVIRs, and instead fill them out digitally with your smartphone, iPad, or a tablet. You simply create an account, download the app, and are able to create inspection forms with a simple drag-and-drop inspection form creator. Then, you pull up the form on your phone or tablet, follow the prompts, and before you know it, your inspection is complete.
If you find any faults with your vehicle while you’re inspecting it, there’s a space in the app to take a photo of it, and leave a comment as well. Once you finish your form, it will be automatically sent in real time to your boss or fleet manager, and they can pull up the form in their web based dashboard to review. If necessary, they can assign your vehicle to a mechanic. Or, if everything is in good condition, you can get on the road that much faster.
With Whip Around, you can fill out your DVIRs quickly, and ensure compliance. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is road ready, without wasting time, or worrying about whether you skipped anything in your inspection.
Your boss will also enjoy the boost to the company’s bottom line that will inevitably occur. As a result maybe he won’t be as grouchy when you ask to take a vacation. Hey, it could happen!
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHIP AROUND AND SEE IF WE CAN HELP?
We’re more about showing than telling anyway, and you can try Whip Around for free as early as today. Create a free account by clicking here, and you’ll be up and running in no time. A few clicks, and type in some simple information, and we’re confident you will quickly see just how much faster your can do a pre-trip fleet vehicle inspection.
It costs as much as $1,000 per day for a vehicle to be off the road. If you can prevent this kind of loss, why wouldn’t you?
Many fleet companies have difficulty implementing pre-trip inspections as a requirement that is followed religiously by every single driver that they employ. Do you know how well your fleet is inspecting it’s vehicles? Do you have a way of monitoring this process? Pre-trip inspections are important for a number of reasons, all of which deal with avoiding the risk of trouble with your vehicle while it is on the road and improving your compliance.
As you probably know, it is required by every state that your fleet has undergone inspection before each trip. Let’s check out 8 good reasons why using pre-trip inspection software for this process will benefit you and your business.
REASON #1: Using inspection software greatly improves driver compliance
At the end of the day, it is down to your drivers to complete each and every pre-trip inspection. You need peace of mind that they are going to do every inspection thoroughly. With a clear and easy-to-use software you will have the ability to quickly train your drivers to do so without giving them the stress of having to keep track of too many things on their own. In other words, the software spells everything out for them.
REASON #2: Avoid driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) problems
DVIR tickets, fines, and other issues are no joke. In most cases, drivers get ticketed for DVIR problems because they did not adequately perform their pre-trip inspection. Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration statistics show that half of the violations reported in 2014 and 2015 had to do with lights, breaks, and tires.
Companies can be fined for driver’s not filling out their DVIR’s, filling them out incorrectly, and for the maintenance departments neglect of DVIR enforcement. In 2010, the companies that did not require their drivers to fill out DVIRs:
averaged out at $3,866 in fines, and,
had the potential of paying up to $9,960 for a single fine
The reality is, when your drivers have trouble with DVIR’s, it creates way more trouble for you. This is where the software helps you out. Pre-trip vehicle inspection software makes the inspections way easier to carry out and therefore much less trouble for your drivers. This should keep them on top of their inspections and, for the most part, safe from DVIR problems.
REASON #3: Go green and make organization easy at the same time with paperless records and digital inspections
By using digital pre-trip inspection forms, the whole process becomes much more efficient. Drivers no longer have to deal with clipboards and paper forms because everything required of them is directly accessible on their tablet or smartphone.
The digital forms make it easy for you to build a simple list of steps that are easy for your drivers to follow. You have the ability to use a ready-made template or make your own custom design from scratch. On the form you can list an unlimited amount of items that need to be inspected, such as:
You can also include additional helpful features, such as:
date and time stamps
open text fields
Some softwares will also allow you to create video instructions and electronic signature fields. Your drivers will then be able to record a video as they inspect as proof of the inspections and to fully communicate and document what they find during the inspection.
Paperless records prevent data loss. Without the nuisance of piles and piles of paper records to keep track of, you can feel more secure that your data and documentation is all in its proper place. The data is backed up onto a secure cloud so such critical information is impossible to lose.
REASON #4: Software provides you with all the items that should be included in an inspection
If you are an extremely seasoned fleet company, you most likely know exactly what it is that should be on your inspection forms. However, you can never be too careful or sure that you have included every issue that may come up if a driver is suspected of neglecting proper protocol. An example of a list approved by the National Safety Council is as follows:
Check that tires, as well as the spare, are fully inflated. Check your owner’s manual for the tire’s proper rotation frequency. Have an ASE-certified technician rotate and balance the tires.
Brake lights, headlights, and turn signals should all be tested and any weak bulbs must be changed.
If wiper blades are worn, replace them.
Check all fluid levels including battery fluid, brake fluid, coolant, oil, transmission, and windshield wiper fluid.
Belts and hoses need to be checked for any cracks or bulges. If any of them are over 4 years old they should be replaced by a certified technician.
Make sure you have a “survival kit” in case of roadside emergencies that holds a blanket and warm clothing, a compass, antifreeze, a first aid kit, an ice scraper and snow brush, food that is non-perishable, reflective triangles, a tool kit, water, and a working flashlight with extra batteries.
REASON #5: The ability to stay on top of your faults
The instant that your driver experiences a fault flagged in the field, they will have the ability to immediately send it to their manager so they can begin the repair process by using the ‘faults module’. The module also includes dashboard reminders that will help your managers to monitor faults and fix them before they become an issue.
This tool makes problem solving super quick and easy for everyone involved. It also documents and creates a clear view of every fault that has been flagged by your company’s drivers. This information can be filtered by:
date and time
By viewing all of your stats in this manner, you and your managers will be able to see just how many faults are in need of attention, the ones that will soon, and those that are in good standing. Once issues have been fixed you have the ability to update the fault status as well as sharing the form with your mechanic to allow them to update the status themselves and make any notes necessary.
Each of these updates are recorded by their time and date. Drivers will also be able to view the status of their vehicle’s faults so everyone is kept in the loop and assured that the vehicle is safe for travel.
REASON #6: Drivers can use their own phone to inspect vehicles
A good software will give your drivers the ability to download the data directly onto their smartphone and even use it when not connected to the internet. The software’s direct connection with the driver’s phone will allow them to take photos with their mobile camera which they can also add comments to with any necessary details.
The ability for the driver to use their own device creates an irreplaceable convenience for them and saves your company the massive chunk of time that would be wasted on paper based inspections.
REASON #7: Increase the longevity of each of your vehicle’s life span
Pre-trip vehicle inspections should be done by licensed inspectors as well as your drivers. As we touched upon earlier, within these inspections, they are checking for:
steering wheel function
overall equipment functionality
Because of this, the vehicle’s health is undergoing a complete check-up, ensuring an extended lifespan. The typical fleet inspection is in depth enough so that all of your vehicles should be confirmed to be in top running condition. Whenever issues arise, it is quickly found and remedied, keeping the wear and tare on the vehicle to a minimum.
REASON #8: Ensure your driver’s safety
From all of the knowledge we have gained about what goes into the pre-trip vehicle inspection, there is no question that its sole purpose is to ensure the safety of the driver and everyone else sharing the road with them.
If any of the required safety measures are not met, it means complications and could even mean fatal accidents on the road. Checking these parts helps to ensure that the equipment is completely safe to operate. Conducting a complete pre-test inspection helps to avoid:
the braking system failing
the coupling system failing
bad lights that could prevent the driver from seeing clearly in bad weather conditions
the steering system failing taking away the driver’s ability to avoid hitting walls, buildings, people, or other vehicles
a runaway trailer, causing the driver to lose cargo as they drive down the highway which poses a threat to other drivers as well as the damage of product
the failing of tires which usually means the tires fall part in pieces which creates a hazard for other vehicles that can cause damage, injury, and even death
The pre-trip vehicle inspection prevents the loss of equipment, but more importantly it protects lives. A full inspection allows the driver and the company the peace of mind that the driver, other’s on the road, and the company vehicle will all be safe.
What does this mean?
Every business wants to save money and protect its employees, customers, and equipment. When it comes to companies that manage fleets, pre-trip vehicle inspection software is the most sufficient key to ensure this all happens.
Shop around and make sure that you find a software that is malleable to your every need. The software’s purpose is to make your process easier, not more confusing. If you ever require assistance with your software, never hesitate to reach out to the customer service team. Through this technology, you can find the efficiency that you have been lacking.
It’s a familiar and frustrating scene to anyone who manages a fleet: a vehicle breaks down, leaving you to figure out how to get it back to the warehouse. Now you’re stuck sending another vehicle in its place, potentially disrupting your entire schedule. The problem vehicle will need repairs that may require coordinating a team of mechanics.
It’s a behind the scenes task that seems simple, but that can eat up hours, time, and energy. Pre-trip inspections can reduce the likelihood and frequency of this scenario, but they come with their own set of challenges -- until now.
With Whip Around, you can conduct pre-trip inspections any time, anywhere. Our efficient and reliable software gives you back your time, while ensuring your vehicles are always in excellent working order. Here’s why Whip Around is a sound investment for your fleet.
Streamlining the inspection process from anywhere
Whip Around offers comprehensive fleet inspection software that allows you to inspect and monitor your vehicles anywhere you can access a digital device. Our mobile app makes it easy to take your inspections on the road, so there’s no longer a need to stand over anyone’s shoulder during inspections.
This means easier inspections, a less demanding schedule, and the ability to stay on top of vehicle repairs while still tending to the many other moving parts of your business. Here’s what Whip Around does to make it easier to manage your fleet from anywhere:
Customizable forms: Some programs require you to work with their forms, which may or may not work well for the way you do business. Whip Around allows you to customize your own forms based on Excel spreadsheets or checklists. The result? Attractive, clear forms that are customized to the way you do business.
Actionable information: Our program flags faults in your fleet, allowing you to take action and make notes about any action you take or plan to take. You can also delegate specific actions to mechanics or other members of your staff.
Individual profiles: Not every mechanic is equipped to work on every vehicle. Some teams might be more important than others. And your highest priority vehicles may need to get back on the road first.
Performance insights: Our analytics data takes fleet management to the next level. We provide extensive documentation about performance and potential areas of improvement. This allows you to plan for the short-term and for the future in a way that maximizes profits, minimizes stress, and keeps your fleet operating in world-class condition.
Acting on inspections: manage your repairs wherever you are
These inspections can alert you to issues that may sideline a trip. They also draw attention to less critical issues that may need your attention in the coming weeks. Whether the repair is urgent or simply involves routine maintenance, Whip Around helps you manage repairs wherever you are.
In today’s competitive climate, it’s not enough to know that a vehicle needs repairs and then rush to see that those repairs happen. Whip Around offers much more, giving your business a competitive edge while freeing you up to manage other aspects of your company.
Our software is different because:
It gives you complete administrative control. Set up individual profiles for teams, vehicles, or users. Seamlessly add new users, control what they can access, and change access permissions in seconds.
It’s completely secure. You might be concerned about moving your sensitive fleet data to the cloud. You should be. Whip Around takes security seriously, offering world-class security that put your information behind a virtually impenetrable wall -- all while keeping it totally accessible to you and your team.
You can reliably access your information whenever you want.Whip Around has 99.99% uptime, and is constantly monitoring for bugs and glitches. You don’t have to worry about a temporary outage undermining your business operations.
Our program can be integrated with other programs your business depends on. The Whip Around API allows you to seamlessly connect data from Whip Around with other tools you use to run your business.
Get help when you need it. There are a veritable avalanche of programs promising to help you streamline inspections and operations. But how many can connect you to a real, live human being when you need support? We offer 24/7 email and chat customer service. That means you don’t have to be a tech expert to use our program, and you certainly don’t have to worry about a small issue mushrooming into something that slows operations for days.
Monitor your vehicles from anywhere
Sooner or later, it happens to everyone who owns or manages a fleet: the pre-trip inspection indicates everything is fine, but something goes wrong on the road. Whip Around allows you to monitor your vehicles from anywhere. So when something goes wrong, you can tend to it immediately. Get a mechanic working on the issue before you even get back to the office.
Whip Around automatically syncs data from the driver’s smartphone to your dashboard. Practically speaking, this means Whip Around may be able to alert you to a problem before it becomes a catastrophe -- and often before a vehicle breaks down.
By comparing the real-world experience of drivers and their vehicles to the data you get from inspections and our continuously updated analytics, you can customize your approach to vehicle inspections. Over time, this can reduce the frequency with which vehicles break down, help you construct a custom maintenance and inspection schedule, and save you time and money.
Gain insight into vehicle performance
Which vehicles give you the most trouble?
Is there a specific driver who seems to run vehicles into the ground?
Or does a specific make or model of vehicles seem to run better than others?
What’s the longest you can go without an oil change without having problems?
How frequently do vehicles need routine maintenance?
Does every vehicle require a pre-trip inspection?
Do vehicles serviced by a specific mechanic seem to run better?
Do specific brands of tires, oil, or other products seem to hold up better?
Are vehicles more vulnerable to maintenance issues on specific routes or in certain climates?
Managing a fleet requires you to know your vehicles -- as well as the people who drive and service them -- like the back of your hand. Can you answer the above questions? Do you know what needs to change about your fleet in the next month, the next year, the next five years? You should.
Being able to answer simple as well as complex questions about your fleet can save you money, prevent maintenance problems, and give you a leg up on your competition. Knowledge is power, and the fleet owner who knows more can do more.
Knowing more is a tall order, particularly when you have other things to tend to. Unless you have a perfect memory and the ability to perfectly monitor trends over time, you need some way to track vehicle performance.
Whip Around offers real-time analytics and alerts that can help you more intelligently manage your fleet -- and the drivers who operate that fleet. Your competition may already be deploying a bevy of strategies to manage their fleet, run more efficiently, save money, and get the most for every vehicle’s buck. Don’t you want to join them in that endeavor?
Get your life back
Many business owners who manage a fleet have an entire business to operate. They may need to track inventory, deal with customers, construct sales pitches, and handle a host of other challenges. Being physically present for inspections, managing repairs, contacting mechanics, and the seemingly endless array of other tasks that await you each day can take you away from the core of your business. Whip Around gives you your life back.
Even if fleet management is your full-time and only business role, being able to outsource some of your daily work can free up valuable time. Ultimately, everyone works because they want more money and a better life. Whip Around offers both.
By managing some of your daily operations for you, Whip Around ensures that:
You can spend more time out of the office. Need to go to a parent-teacher conference or a doctor’s appointment? Work no longer has to interfere.
You can take guilt-free vacations. Enjoy your hard-earned money and spend time with your family, so you can return to work rested and rejuvenated. If there’s a fleet crisis, Whip Around helps you manage it from afar. Pre-trip inspections will no longer require your presence.
You can focus on your much-neglected hobbies because you no longer have to spend all of your time at the office.
Work-life balance is the key to happiness. No matter how many vehicles are in your fleet or how demanding your work is, you deserve a break. That’s what Whip Around gives you.
How remote pre-trip inspections can
Sure, it’s convenient to have more free time or to no longer need to be on site for each inspection. But is the convenience worth it? We think so. Research shows that happy employees are more productive. So a little more free time a little less time spent worrying about inspections can improve your own productivity, and possibly that of your staff, too. Consider the time and hassle you currently spend managing inspections.
The effort likely includes:
Tracking down vehicles that need to be inspected, and planning multiple inspection times based on when vehicles will be available.
Assigning problem vehicles to various mechanics, usually in person.
Monitoring vehicles for signs that it might be time for repairs.
Monitoring trends in vehicle inspection failures and repairs.
Revamping your schedule based on which vehicles are out of commission, and which vehicles should only make short trips.
When necessary, replacing vehicles that cannot be economically repaired.
This can all easily become a full-time job. Perhaps you’ve hired a fleet manager to take care of these tasks for you. With Whip Around’s fleet management software, however, you can outsource much of the work to an automated program that does the heavy lifting for you.
Depending on your business model, this can revolutionize the way you do business. The benefits of automated inspections include:
Saving money. You might be able to eliminate a full-time employee, or reduce their hours to part-time. You’ll also save money on catastrophic vehicle failures, and be better equipped to plan trip routes based on which vehicles are in working order. This can help you make more money, and reduce the total costs of repairs.
Fewer fines and regulatory penalties. Depending upon your business model and whom you serve, a vehicle in poor working order could trigger fines and other regulatory penalties. Staying on top of your fleet with our software can help you avoid this annoyance.
Better customer service. No one likes to have to call a customer and tell them the vehicle will be late, or that the delivery must be rescheduled. You can more effectively serve your customers, potentially improving your reputation and even picking up a few new customers.
With more time to focus on managing your business, you may be able to cultivate more effective marketing, streamline other operations, engage in more customer interactions, become more involved in the community, and find new ways to grow your company. In today’s competitive climate, success is all about outsourcing what you can. To really thrive, however, you musty outsource carefully, choosing your partners wisely. Whip Around is a silent partner that gets the job done effectively, affordably, and confidentially.
How much do you bill for your time? Consider that every moment you spend on fleet management is time that you could be billing for your labor and expertise. Every hour you free up is an hour of money earned. Your time is the most valuable asset you have, because it’s the only thing you can’t get more of or earn back when it’s gone. Use it wisely with Whip Around.
Start now for free
Whip Around marks a categorically different way of doing things for most companies that operate a fleet. And while this can save time and money while reducing stress, change can also be scary. That’s why we offer a chance to start now, for free. There’s no credit card required. Give Whip Around a try and see if it works for you. That’s how confident we are in our revolutionary program.
Ready to see how easy it can be to manage a fleet with a little help? Start today. You can contact us for support, or click here to begin the registration process.
As a fleet manager, you know that keeping your vehicles both in good condition and on the road are two of the most important keys to success. When your vehicles are working at optimal levels, your team is less likely to have accidents, and you’re more likely to meet shipping deadlines.
One way to ensure your vehicles are always operating in the best condition possible is by using Whip Around DVIR software for your pre-trip inspections. Read on to learn how this software is changing the game for CDL drivers, fleet managers, and business owners.
What is Whip Around?
Whip Around is a post, during, and pre-trip vehicle inspection software (DVIR) that streamlines your fleet inspection process. Your drivers can perform their inspections using the mobile app available for Android and iOS systems, and then submit their paperless forms wirelessly to the web-based dashboard giving you all the information you need in real time.
Who needs Whip Around
Fleet managers, owners, and their drivers need Whip Around. In your role as manager, you’re responsible for making sure that your vehicles and hence your drivers are safe before they get on the road, and that they are in compliance with all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. The best way you ensure your vehicles are good to go, is for your drivers to complete a pre-trip inspection.
Whip Around is the modern solution to PTIS
Using the traditional, outdated, paper based systems is time-consuming and open to inaccuracies. What’s worse is that when your drivers have to complete paper-based forms, a lot of time is wasted bringing the paperwork to the administrative team, and then reading the forms, evaluating them, and finally scheduling maintenance and repairs for any faults that are found during the inspection. Heaven forbid they get interupted while transporting the paperwork -- those precious minutes can add up to hours off the road!
Whip Around helps you to minimize downtime by allowing your drivers to quickly fill out their form from their mobile device, take images and make notes on vehicle faults, and then automatically send the report to you upon completion.
Let’s face it -- It’s far too easy to miss something on a paper report and chalk it up to simple forgetfulness. With Whip Around you can’t miss something in your pre-trip vehicle inspection because you have to physically check off an item before you can move onto the next one.
Then, after they have completed their form, within mere moments you’ll receive an alert that the form is ready to review, and as a result you’ll be able to get the vehicle over to a mechanic faster as well.
What does that mean? Well, in dollars and sense, it means your driver will have a road ready vehicle in a fraction of the time, and be back on the road to boost your bottom line.
The Whip Around app comes preloaded with a 12 step form to make your pre-trip inspection a breeze
Pretty much everyone has a smart phone these days. And, the Whip Around app can be downloaded to any Android or iOS system almost instantly, giving your drivers the ability to start doing their inspections without a pen and paper in just moments only using pre-trip vehicle inspection software.
The app features a pre-loaded 12 step form that has your drivers check for things like:
Windshield, wipers, sun visors and mirrors
Lights and indicators
Wheels and tires
Reflectors, indicators and air hoses
Doors and seat belts
Horn and speedometer
Steering for excessive free movement
Switches and even whether or not you have enough fuel to complete the trip
The form also features a space to enter mileage and add the signature of the driver. If you don’t like the way the form looks in the free account, you can upgrade to a premium or enterprise account to add customized entries for inspection, or rearrange the order that your checklist appears in.
One of the best parts about the app is that the prompts are easy to follow, and there’s no guesswork involved for any of the items on the checklist. Your drivers can give you the exact data you need, and if there are any discrepancies, they will be prompted to take a photo and explain them so you’ll never be in the dark as to what’s going on with the trucks in your fleet.
Whip Around saves your business time and money
By using Whip Around, your drivers will be less likely to face:
Large amounts of downtime off the road
The reporting system within Whip Around also puts you in a position to take advantage of lower insurance premiums and governments levies. Since the system is designed to allow your drivers to undertake quick and easy daily inspection of their vehicles and keep a thorough history of records, you will have a record of safe practices at the ready for any potential audits by external authorities, upper management, and/or clients.
Your company will enjoy a reduction in accidents on the road
Many of the accidents that occur on the road, happen due to things that were completely preventable. And, those precious moments spent doing a pre-trip inspection can often reveal minor things that could ultimately lead to much more serious and costly accidents or incidents.
For example, a tire coming loose from a truck and hitting another motorist is in most cases preventable if your driver:
Completes a pre-trip vehicle inspection,
Therefor notices the tire isn’t on securely, and subsequently
Secures it before departure
Did you know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a study that stated ‘“Tires” was the most frequently coded vehicle-related factor for passenger vehicles in fatal crashes?” In fact, faulty issues with vehicles and tires were found to be the most common vehicle-related factors for large trucks in fatal crashes.
Can you imagine the legal and financial implications your company could face in the event a fatal crash occurs all because your driver didn’t ensure that their tires were secure on their vehicle before getting on the road? This is the kind of thing money hungry accident attorneys salivate over, and that honestly can break a trucking company’s business.
What about your windshield wipers and windshield wiper fluid? If you’re not checking that those are in good condition before your departure, you run the risk of not being able to see while driving down the road. Impaired vision is just asking for an accident -- and yes, it would be a preventable one!
Checking the brakes is critical too!
Another type of accident that is sometimes preventable is a rear-ending. While it is true that in many cases the driver of a CDL vehicle is not found at fault when the person they rear-ended cut them off or weather conditions prevented them from avoiding the crash, if it is found the driver didn’t check their brakes in their pre-trip inspection, they can:
Be found at fault for the crash due to faulty equipment alone
Get a ticket
Be held liable for any damage to the vehicle
Be on the hook for any injury claims
The company can also be held liable for damage to the vehicle and the costs associated with injury claims.
Rear endings are the number one type of crash involving a CDL driver according to the FMCSA. That’s why it’s even more important to make sure that your driver’s brakes, and brake fluid are in optimal condition before the driver takes to the road.
Whip Around can also help you save money on repair bills
A small problem left unchecked can lead to costly repair bills. An example would be not checking for fluid leaks that ultimately result in bigger problems such as radiator fluid leaks.
Common things that “break down” due to radiator fluid leaks are the thermostat, the water pump and the heater core. If your driver had just checked for leaks, the faulty radiator hose could have been found sooner, and all those subsequent failures and repairs could have been avoided.
Whip Around will reveal trends in faults and repairs
Because the app provides you with real time data, you will always be able to notice when there is a sudden uptick in repair needs, and be able to prepare your budgets and game plan accordingly.
It could be something as simple as noticing there has been a significant increase in the number of drivers needing the same part replaced. This might point to an issue with the model of truck that your drivers are driving cluing you into the fact that you might want to take it up with the manufacturer or avoid purchases from them in the future.
When you have 10, 50, 100, or more drivers in your fleet dealing with the same issue over and over, it can add up. Therefore, having data to back up your claim that something is off, or not quite right, could help you find a way to correct the situation in some way, shape or form. After all, it’s difficult to argue with hard data and real time numbers!
Less time with the mechanic means more time on the road
Smaller repairs are not only cheaper, but they also take less time to perform as well. Every moment your drivers are not on the road could be costing your company significant amounts of money. Think about it. If vehicle down time can cost more than $1,000 per truck per day, wouldn’t it be better to spend as little time as possible in the mechanic’s station?
Downtime costs your company more than you may realize
Your fleet’s ability to get their deliveries to the intended destination is one way your company builds its reputation. Spending a lot of added time dealing with extensive repairs can make you look bad to your clients, and could cost you their future business if it becomes too much of a problem. Yet another reason those pre-trip inspections are so critical, and making them easy to do makes things better for everyone.
What’s the cost of Whip Around, and what do you get for the money?
We get it, as with all business expenses, you want to the brass tax so you know exactly what you’re getting into.
There are currently three account tiers with Whip Around:
Free: Free to sign up and includes 1 vehicle with limited access.
Premium: Pricing begins at $8 per month for 1 vehicle and pricing plans are available for up to 250 vehicles in your fleet.
Enterprise: Price available upon application and is intended for fleets larger than 250 vehicles.
There are no contracts to sign, and you can cancel any time. Whip Around is a monthly subscription service charged on a per truck, per month basis. As your needs change you can upgrade or downgrade your account to meet those needs.
When you sign up your get instant access to:
The latest technology: Whip Around is constantly being improved to keep up with the latest advancements in the field. As the technology evolves there are no extra costs to your business, you can simply update the app, and keep on trucking.
Our cloud based storage system: You don’t have to keep lots of records on your own servers, so there is no hardware/storage cost on your end. The Whip Around technology is built in the cloud and relies on smart phones to collect the information. Because of this you are able to access the information from your account on any device, at any location, at any time around the world.
Each account features a web based dashboard, but the Premium and Enterprise Accounts include:
Unlimited dashboard users
Unlimited customized pre-trip inspection forms - you can add inspection items not found in the freemium account
Email and chat support (priority for premium, unlimited for enterprise accounts, and enterprise also includes phone support)
Mobile App Access and Access to application program interface (API)
You can start today for free!
If you’re not quite ready to try a premium or enterprise account, that’s okay! You can get started with Whip Around for free. Create a free account today by clicking here. You’ll soon see how much faster your pre-trip inspections can be completed, and get on the fast track to reducing costs and increasing your bottom line.
A CDL pre-trip vehicle inspection is one of the most important things a driver can do to ensure that their vehicle is safe on the road. Of course time is money, and every minute that you're not back on the road you're potentially losing money. That's why it's imperative you create a vehicle inspection process that can be done efficiently.
You need a repeatable process that enables you to check your vehicle quickly but thoroughly, make sure that it's road-ready, and gets you back on the road as soon as possible. With that in mind below are seven tips to passing a CDL pre-trip vehicle inspection.
Download and use DVIR software on your smartphone that allows you optimize the process of doing a CDL Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection with ease. We may be biased, but we recommend the Whip Around™ app.
Have a predetermined set of things to look for in your inspection so that you can do it quickly and effectively every time.
Document everything with photos and keep thorough records to avoid tickets/fines.
Check your vehicle every 24 hours, with every shift change, and/or when picking up new equipment to catch small problems before they become big and costly ones.
Keep your boss/fleet manager in the loop as to what’s going on with your vehicle at all times so that faults can be fixed quickly.
Repair the faults that compromise the safety of the vehicle prior to your departure. Also be sure to schedule maintenance for and/or keep an eye on things that may need to be repaired/replaced in the near future.
Keep up with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations so you’re always certain you know what it takes to be compliant.
1. Download the Whip Around App
Whip Around is the driver vehicle inspection report software that has changed the game when it comes to the CDL Pre-Trip Inspection. The application is available for both Android and iOS phones, and comes with everything you need to create a thorough and well documented vehicle report.
Download the app for free, enter some simple information as well as your license plate, and voila! You have a paperless system at the ready at all times to keep records about the status of your commercial vehicle. Just a few of the features of Whip Around include:
Mobile checklists to keep track of what’s working, what’s not, and what needs immediate attention.
The ability to take photos of worn and broken elements of your vehicle such as broken windshields and burned out taillights and headlights.
Automatic syncing between your smartphone and the web based dashboard, so that you and your fleet manager will always know the status of your vehicle.
With Whip Around in your pocket, you’ll always have a documented report of your vehicle, and the ability to make a new report whenever you want to.
2. Streamline the CDL pre-trip inspection process
When you have a checklist that you can use every time you need to do a pre-trip inspection, you can do it faster without worrying whether or not you missed something. Not only does Whip Around have a 12 step form preloaded in the freemium account, you can upgrade to the Premium Plan and add custom elements to your checklist.
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS SHOULD YOU BE LOOKING FOR IN YOUR PRE-TRIP INSPECTION PROCESS?
The freemium account of Whip Around includes an inspection checklist for the following:
Windshield, windshield wipers, sun visor and mirror:
Do your wipers work correctly?
Is the windshield clean and not cracked?
Are the wiper blades damaged?
Is the washer fluid container full?
Do the windshield washers work correctly?
Lights and indicators
Are all lights work correctly including your hazard lights?
Are the lenses clean and not cracked?
Left and Right wheels and tires (note: in the app there are two separate sections for the left and right wheels and tires. This allows you to assess one side of the vehicle completely before moving to the other side instead of bouncing around.)
Are the tires on both sides of the vehicle correctly inflated and not damaged?
Are the wheel nuts tightened?
Is there any damage to the wheels?
Do you see cuts or bulges in the tire sidewalls?
Is the tread path adequate?
Left and Right Fluid leaks (note: again, there are two separate sections for the right and left side of the vehicle in the app)
Do you notice any fluid leaks on the right or left side of the vehicles from the engine, fuel system or waste water tank?
Reflectors, toe coupling, tail lights, indicators and air hoses
Is everything fitted, working, clean and not damaged?
Doors and seat belts
Do all doors open and close fully?
Is a fire extinguisher present, serviced and ready for use?
Are all seat belts working correctly
Horn and Speedometer
Does the horn work correctly?
Is the speedometer working correctly?
What is your current mileage?
Final check for road readiness of the vehicle:
Steering for excessive free movement
No apparent air leaks from breaks
All switches and warning lines operate correctly
Sufficient fuel to complete trip
The end of the 12 step form also includes a space for the signature of the driver that inspected the vehicle. An unsigned inspection report can be grounds for a ticket/fine. Speaking of fines...
3. Keep Records - Avoid Fines
If you get a random inspection at a weigh station, or are pulled over for any reason and cause is found to do a random inspection, it’s imperative you have documentation for any faults that may be found. The phrase “I didn’t know” simply won’t save you, unfortunately.
In the event that the random inspection results in finding faults you don’t have documentation for, a few things can happen --
You could get a fine
You might be ordered to have it repaired before you can continue on your trip
You could get a fine, and be ordered to have it repaired
Your vehicle could be placed out of service and require towing to the nearest repair shop, and again you could get a fine.
This is why doing the CDL pre-trip vehicle inspection is so important. You need to be able to find and repair faults quickly, and/or have documentation related to faults that aren’t quite necessary to repair just yet.
WHAT CAN WARRANT A ROADSIDE INSPECTION?
Some states spot check CDL vehicles at weigh stations, others will do an inspection if they pull you over for moving violations.
At weigh stations, the DOT doesn’t necessarily have time to thoroughly inspect every truck that comes through, however you should always be ready for one. According to FleetOwner.com, “a tidy cab can often mean ‘move along,’” and you won’t have a thorough inspection.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep your cab tidy at all times. Fleet Owner also suggests having a pleasant attitude, and making sure your documents are easily accessible to that they’re easy to inspect.
Trucker Insider says that there are six levels to a roadside inspection with level one being the most thorough, complete with the DOT inspector crawling “underneath, over, onto and through (you get the point) of your vehicle.”
Levels two through five are varying degrees of thoroughness, and level six “is reserved for those that haul transuranic waste and Highway rout[e] controlled quantities of radioactive material.”
If you are pulled over for speeding or any other roadway violation, you could face a roadside inspection of your CDL vehicle as well. For this reason alone, it’s a good idea to obey speed limits and follow the other rules of the road so you can stay on the road, and stick to your driving schedule.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE CHOSEN FOR A ROADSIDE INSPECTION?
Answer any and all questions to the best of your ability
Hand over all requested documentation
Hopefully no violations will be found, and you’ll be back on the road quickly and painlessly.
4. Catch small problems before they become big problems
Did you know that a small crack in a windshield can turn into a large crack or even a completely shattered windshield while driving on the road? Hitting a pothole or a big bump in the road could result in you needing the windshield completely replaced if you don’t repair small cracks as soon as you notice them.
The same can be said for other small problems -- they can all turn into bigger and much more expensive ones. For example, a leaky hose left unrepaired could drain your windshield washer fluid, or worse your brake fluid! That can get expensive real fast.
Consider for a moment the legal troubles you could also face if you didn’t ensure the wheel nuts were tightened, and then a wheel came loose and hit another motorist on the road. Though this may seem unlikely, it’s better to ensure the safety of your vehicle not just for yourself, but for other drivers you will be sharing the road with.
While it’s true that some things can wear and tear a while before needing to be replaced, it’s a good idea to keep documentation on any and all faults of your vehicle so that you can track the urgency for the repairs and replacements of those faults.
5. Give your fleet manager your reports
A good manager is an informed one. With Whip Around, fleet managers will always know the status of the vehicles in their fleet. As soon as a driver completes their CDL pre-inspection report, they can instantly sign it and send it. It will then automatically sync from their smartphone to the fleet manager’s web based dashboard.
This ensures that the fleet manager will always be kept in the loop as to whether or not the vehicles in their fleet need repairing, and will also give them up to date analytics so they can track if there is a sudden uptick in repairs and issues.
6. Repair what you can ASAP, and schedule the rest
It’s critical that you repair the faults that compromise the safety of the vehicle prior to your departure for a trip. Though it can be frustrating to delay a trip due to repairs, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Simply putting it off until the next day or even the next trip could be the difference between getting a fine during a spot inspection from the DOT, and having a trip free of hassles. Delaying your repairs in the worst case scenario could be the difference of getting into an accident and your safe return home.
You or your fleet manager should schedule regular maintenance for your vehicle as well. Things like oil changes, wheel alignment, keeping your fluids full (wiper fluid, power steering, coolant, etc…), air filters, batteries, and so on are important for both safety and comfort. The better condition your vehicle is kept in, the less likely you are to experience down time, and as a result, loss of income.
7. KEEP UP TO DATE WITH FMCSA REGULATIONS
Do you know what the current FMCSA regulations are for drivers? If you’ve been a driver for a while, it may have been months or even years since you last studied the FMCSA manual. Even if you’re not going to be taking a test again any time soon, it’s important that you keep up to date with all FMCSA regulations so you’re always certain you know what it takes to be compliant.
It may be a good idea to have education days regularly to ensure that you and your fleet are up to date on the latest rules. It’s better to know the law and avoid a fine, than try and argue your way out of a ticket for non compliance. If your fleet manager isn’t interested in education days, you can always search the FMCSA website on your own to keep yourself educated on the rules.
READY TO TRY WHIP AROUND?
If you have been looking for reliable a DVIR software-solution, perhaps it’s time to give Whip Around a try. We’re confident you’ll be impressed with just how quickly you can inspect your vehicles to ensure they are safe and road-ready.
Learn more about pricing and create your free account today! We look forward to making your CDL Pre-Trip Inspection process a little easier on your company and its employees.