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.
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.
It's that pesky form you have to fill out before you go on a haul. For some truck drivers it's the bane of their existence. In fact, some drivers will avoid it at all costs. It’s that frustrating, time-consuming task known as the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR).
You may be wondering:
What is it?
What’s the big deal about them?
Can DVIRs benefit you, or are they just a government required nuisance?
How can you get them done faster?
We’ll cover all this and more in this post. Fasten your seatbelts, and let’s get this show on the road.
WHAT IS DVIR?
The DVIR is the formal record, be it on paper or paperless, that confirms a driver has thoroughly inspected their commercial motor vehicle before taking it on out on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), completing a DVIR is required for each vehicle every day the vehicle is in use.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT DVIR ANYWAY?
Why is it that some people like the Department of Transportation, your boss, fleet manager, etc…, get bent out of shape about whether or not you’ve done your DVIR before you drive your commercial vehicle? Perhaps it’s because the DVIR is what lets you know if your vehicle is road-ready.
By not completing it, you can't be certain as to whether or not your vehicle is safe to be on the road. And the truth is, there are many things that can cause your commercial vehicle to be unsafe on the road. To put it bluntly, every time you go out without inspecting your vehicle for defects or faults, you are putting yourself and others at risk.
WHAT TYPES OF THINGS SHOULD YOU BE CHECKING FOR IN YOUR DVIR?
At a minimum your DVIR should include inspection of the following parts and accessories:
(i) Windshield, windshield wiper, sun visor and mirror
Do the wipers work correctly?
Is the windshield clean and not cracked?
Are you confident the wiper blades are not damaged?
Is the washer fluid container full?
Is your windshield washer fluid operating correctly?
(ii) Lights and indicators
Are all lights work correctly including hazard lights?
What about the lenses? Are they clean, free from discoloration, and not cracked?
(iii) Left wheels and tires
Are your tires correctly inflated, and not damaged?
Are the wheel nuts on them tight?
Did you check that there are no cuts or bulges in the tire’s side walls?
Is your tread path adequate?
(iv) Are there any fluid leaks on the left side of the vehicle from the engine, fuel system, waste water tank or any other part?
(v) Reflectors, toe coupling, tail lights, indicators and air hoses
Are all of these fitted, working, clean and not damaged?
(vi) Are there any fluid leaks on the right side of the vehicle from the engine, fuel system, waste water tank or any other part?
(vii) Right wheels and tires - check for the same things you looked for on the left side tires:
Tires are correctly inflated and not damaged
Wheel nuts are tight
No cuts or bulges
Adequate tread path
(viii) Doors and seat belts
Do all doors open and close fully? Check the left side, right side and back doors. You also want to make sure all locks and latches work correctly too.
Is the fire extinguisher serviced and ready for use?
What about your seat belts? Are those working properly?
(ix) Horn and speedometer
Is the horn working correctly?
Is the speedometer is working properly?
(x) Additional things to check before heading off on a haul:
Do you have any trouble steering the vehicle?
Are there any apparent air leaks anywhere?
Does the vehicle come to a full and complete stop when you apply the brakes?
Are all switches and warnings operating adequately?
Do you have sufficient fuel to complete your trip?
CAN DVIR’S ACTUALLY BENEFIT YOU, OR ARE THEY JUST A GOVERNMENT REQUIRED NUISANCE?
When it comes to DVIR’s, it can sometimes feel as though the paperwork you're being required to complete is nothing more than a pain in the neck that government bureaucrats who don’t understand your job are enforcing just to give you a headache. You might even start to feel like they aren’t something that's really necessary unless your boss forces you to do it. This can feel especially true if you have been driving regularly for months or even years at a time without an incident.
However, if you're ever in a situation where your vehicle is not road-ready, and an incident does occur, you'll instantly understand why doing the DVIR is so critical not just for yourself, but for the safety of everybody on the road. Of course, we hope you never have to experience the potential fallout of driving an unsafe vehicle. Still, we thought we’d share just a few things that could happen should you blow off this task that you might feel is simply a waste of your time.
YOU COULD WRECK YOUR VEHICLE, AND BE FOUND AT FAULT.
Accidents happen everyday, and to be honest, not all of them, if any, will be your fault. Then again, there are many accidents that could have been prevented, and could cause you to be found at fault. Just a few examples where the truck driver could be found at fault for the accident include:
A brake failure that resulted in a wreck, because you didn’t notice that your brake fluid was leaking, and now your brakes have stopped working because the fluid ran dry. (A brake problem was even listed as one of the 10 most common causes of an accident when the commercial vehicle was determined to be at fault, according to Simmons and Fletcher, P.C.)
A fault in one of your tires led to a blow out, and you swerved into another lane as a result.
Your windshield had a small crack, that turned into a big one thanks to a bump in the road. It then impaired your vision, and caused a wreck.
You didn’t check the back latch on your vehicle, and while driving down the road at full speed, your entire haul flew out the back of the truck impaling several vehicles, and causing massive damage.
Think these incidents could never happen to you? Think again. Not only are they possible, they have happened, and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
And, if you haven’t completed a DVIR, when the cops investigate the incident, you could:
Be found at fault
Get a fine
Lose your commercial driver’s license
Be sued (or your company could)
In some cases, all of the above could happen as a result of an accident.
YOU COULD KILL SOMEONE OR YOURSELF.
You might believe it’s a little far-fetched to think that failure to complete a DVIR could result in a death. But, consider this - The FMCSA compiled a report called “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts.” In the report they found, “There were 11.2 fatal large truck crashes per million people in the United States in 2015, a 6-percent increase from 2010.”
And, of those numbers they concluded: “Vehicle-related factors were coded for 6 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes and 3 percent of the passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes. ‘Other Working Vehicle’ and ‘Tires’ were the most common vehicle-related factors for large trucks in fatal crashes... ‘Tires’ was the most frequently coded vehicle-related factor for passenger vehicles in fatal crashes.”
While the odds are in your favor that you’ll never have to deal with a fatality as a result of an incident on the road, these numbers speak to the point that DVIRs are not just a waste of time. They are there to help you find small problems before they have the chance to become big ones.
What vehicle-related factors are you overlooking every time you skip a pre-trip inspection?
WHAT ARE THE FEDERAL REGULATIONS FOR DVIRS?
According to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, here are some of the rules as they are related to DVIRs:
Every motor carrier shall require its drivers to report, and every driver shall prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day's work on each vehicle operated, except for intermodal equipment tendered by an intermodal equipment provider.
The report must identify the vehicle and list any defect or deficiency discovered by or reported to the driver which would affect the safety of operation of the vehicle or result in its mechanical breakdown.
The driver must sign the report.
Prior to requiring or permitting a driver to operate a vehicle, every motor carrier or its agent shall repair any defect or deficiency listed on the driver vehicle inspection report which would be likely to affect the safety of operation of the vehicle.
Every motor carrier shall maintain the original driver vehicle inspection report, the certification of repairs, and the certification of the driver's review for three months from the date the written report was prepared.
If you drive a commercial vehicle, you should be completing DVIRs. And, if your company is not enforcing this, your vehicle is not in compliance with federal regulations. This could result in fines, lost wages, and other inconveniences for you and/or your company.
HOW CAN COMPLETING YOUR DVIRS BENEFIT YOU OR YOUR COMPANY?
Being compliant with federal regulations can keep your truck on the road. Every day that your vehicle isn’t on the road can cost as much as $1,000 or more. In other words, completing your DVIR could save your day’s wages.
For example. if you’re pulled over for a roadside inspection and have not completed a DVIR, it could lead to a more thorough inspection by the DOT. If they find any faults your truck could be taken off the road until the repairs can be made. The longer those repairs take, the longer you are losing money.
Another benefit of completing DVIRs is that your company will save money. Every time they learn of a problem with a vehicle, it will be repaired and get back on the road that much faster. Smaller problems cost less time and money to fix, and this will give your company’s bottom line a boost. That makes for happier bosses and managers, and ultimately happier employees.
When companies enforce completion of DVIRs they can also save money on insurance premiums. Having those DVIRs in hand is auditable proof to an insurance provider that the vehicles in a fleet are being maintained, and are as safe as they can be on the road.
HOW CAN YOU GET A DVIR DONE FASTER?
Perhaps by now we have finally convinced you that you should be doing DVIRs regularly. Great! But, now you’re trying to figure out how to get them done faster. We get it! Time is money, and completing a DVIR takes time. And, if you’re using a paper based system, you’re wasting a lot more time and resources than necessary. All that ink, all those copies, all that paperwork...it’s unnecessary.
Enter Whip Around. Founded in January 2015, Whip Around is a mobile-based application that makes DVIR compliance quick and easy. Using a mobile device, you can simply pull up a pre-trip inspection form, fill it out with a few clicks, and then instantly submit it to your fleet manager. You can even report defects and faulty equipment within the platform, and you’ll be prompted to take a photo and add a comment to explain the issue.
The basic report installed with the application comes with the bare essentials of what you need to inspect a vehicle to be road ready. However, your fleet manager can also add their own inspection items to it in order to ensure everything is in tip-top shape before drivers go out on the road.
Once a DVIR is submitted, your fleet manager can assign the vehicle for repairs. Or, if everything checks out, you can hop on the road confident that your vehicle is safe. No paper, no hassle, just quick inspections, and instant submission. Being compliant with DVIRs has never been easier.
GET STARTED WITH WHIP AROUND TODAY!
Want to try out Whip Around for yourself? You can get started with a freemium account as soon as today. Click here to learn more about Whip Around’s features, or click here to create an account now.
Let’s be honest. The level of inherent risk involved means that you need to do your due diligence before sending a fleet of vehicles out there. Should disaster strike on the road or elsewhere during a job, it’s your business and your reputation that is bound to suffer. This is precisely why pre-trip vehicle inspections are such an essential part of your day-to-day operation.
While it may be tempting to forgo this process in favor of simply boosting productivity, to do so just may make all the difference if something does go wrong out there. Still on the fence? Let’s introduce our secret weapon: fleet vehicle inspection software. There’s no better way to take your business into the modern age than to install a faster, more accessible way of delivering inspection reports.
Sure, pre-trip vehicle inspections may cut into your time and seemingly have an adverse effect on your business’s efficiency. However, maybe you’ve just been approaching this necessary part of your workflow the wrong way. After all, embarking on a constant search for improvement opportunities is a sure way to maximize your long-term chances of success.
In the case of how you manage your fleet, working smarter — and not harder, as the adage goes — can begin with streamlining your inspection process. Fleet vehicle inspection software is the easiest way to transform your business, lending a new level of performance that will undoubtedly result in better service and smoother operations across the board. Without further delay, let’s discuss exactly how Whip Around’s fleet vehicle inspection software can help.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE STATUS QUO
A pre-trip inspection is customary for anyone holding a commercial driver’s license. So we shouldn’t need to stress the level of detail that normally goes into the process. With all the safety steps and routine maintenance involved, performing such an inspection before each and every trip can become tedious for even the most seasoned driver.
Yet, the potential for something to go wrong exponentially increases whenever a given vehicle is put to work for long stretches of time or racks up a high level of mileage. So, in actuality, pre-trip inspections actually become more important over time, and this growing necessity only underscores the big-picture value in eliminating the headaches that so often accompany the tried-and-true way of conducting vehicle inspections.
The likelihood of a driver deciding to overlook or just skip an inspection for the sake of time is just not worth the possibility of an accident or other mishap.
But the reality is that the time it takes to thoroughly inspect a vehicle, fill out an inspection form and effectively communicate the results to a manager can have a profound effect on a driver’s ability to perform the job to the best of their ability. In the end, this leaves businesses like yours with one simple but critical question to face.
Forgo the pre-trip vehicle inspection — a highly dangerous move we strongly advise against — or find a new way of reaching the same thorough results as in the current process. Using vehicle inspection software certainly falls in the latter (and far safer) category, giving your business the opportunity to catch up with the changing times and ensure that the vehicle in question is ready for another day out on the road.
The only issue you may initially face is figuring out how your new software system functions. Thankfully, even this isn’t a problem with the right vehicle inspection tool at your disposal.
INTRODUCING VEHICLE INSPECTION SOFTWARE
So you’ve decided that a change is most definitely in order. But what exactly is vehicle inspection software, and how steep is the learning curve to implement it? Before we get to that second part, let’s address the first one. Fleet vehicle inspection software provides fleet managers and drivers with the cloud-based tool they need to complete and submit fully customizable inspection forms from anywhere and at anytime.
Fully digital daily vehicle inspection reports mean that you’re able to go paperless and stay more organized than ever. As it currently stands, drivers need to keep blank copies of standard inspection forms on hand at all times, and even then, they still have to be troubled with filling out each one every day, ensuring that they filled them out satisfactorily.
Moreover, they then need to keep track of these hard copies and remember to bring them back to the office when they return to check in with you, their manager.
Fleet vehicle inspection software removes the guesswork in filling out hard copies of those pesky inspection forms, saving both time and money as a result. It’s simply an easier way of doing things, and the fact that inspection forms can be customized so that only active fields are included only makes the process that much quicker.
Now it’s done in one fell swoop, as drivers are able to complete and submit streamlined forms in a fraction of the time. So your fleet will be more focused on the task at hand and less bogged down by the tedium of administrative requirements. The ability to keep your team’s attention on its performance is itself a major distinguishing factor, speaking volumes about the impact vehicle inspection software can have on your business.
With any routine task, simplicity is essential, and fleet vehicles inspection software like Whip Around centers entirely on its easy-to-use interface.
FORM A SMOOTHER PICTURE
Vehicle inspections aren’t only a wise business practice but one that is actually required by law. The Department of Transportation dictates that commercial vehicles complete a form each day. This requirement acts as a safety precaution on behalf of the driver and all others on the road, but in the event that accident or some other unfortunate circumstance befalls the vehicle, it also acts as evidence that your vehicle was inspected and in top condition beforehand, minimizing liability.
We’ve already discussed how fleet vehicle inspection software takes those tired old inspection forms and goes digital with them. However, more than merely creating an alternative to the usual mountains of paperwork, this new process instantaneously saves progress on each report. So no data is ever lost, and there’s no chance of a completed form becoming lost in the shuffle or getting misfiled back at your home office.
If the unthinkable does occur, your company and your driver will be able to access the inspection form for that day in a matter of moments. Thanks to the cloud-based system, you will be able to bid farewell to the paperwork you once dreaded having to file in the first place. Even better, you’ll be demonstrating to your clients, your drivers and your industry that you are able and eager to remain in compliance with your vehicle inspections.
As technology continues to play an ever-larger role in our everyday lives and companies are falling victim to hacks and scams seemingly at every turn, creating a sense of transparency and maintaining a detailed record of your business activity is becoming less of a luxury and more of an exercise in common sense. Implementing digital vehicle inspection reports into your operation is, in the end, an easy way to accomplish just that.
THE MAGIC OF MOBILITY
The internet is truly an amazing thing. Thanks to the worldwide web and the network it provides, we live in a decidedly global world. Anyone can work from any organization across the planet from any other place without any detriment or disadvantage to his or her work. All they need is a solid internet connection or phone signal through which data can be transmitted, and any member of your team can engage with you at a moment’s notice.
No longer do workers have to be limited by their location, and fewer industries need this flexibility as much as yours does. Your drivers are already on the road and constantly moving from place to place. Just filling out an inspection form seems like more trouble than it’s worth, but now Whip Around’s fleet vehicle inspection software streamlines that process and removes the trouble of having to manually turn in the inspection forms after the fact.
Instead, drivers can perform inspections, reports maintenance issues and make repairs with no issue whatsoever. Through the magic of these new digital forms, you can stay 100% in the know about what your drivers are up to and be able to review the updated file on each vehicle right away. For all the reasons we’ve outlined above and so much more, this system creates an autonomous relationship for each of your drivers, empowering them to take action when needed and allowing them to take ownership on what needs to be done.
Too often, employees are hesitant to take accountability for fear that something will blow up in their faces or that a misunderstanding will emerge down the chain of command. However, in this case, drivers can take pride in their work with full knowledge that their actions are making an immediate difference in the day-to-day performance of their duties.
A ROAD PAVED WITH BENEFITS
As if we haven’t touted the benefits of fleet vehicle inspection software enough, let’s take another moment or two to summarize the many ways in which a system like ours can transform your process.
Save time: You’ll be able to trim away countless hours shuffling through needless paperwork, from completing overlong, over-complicated forms to filing them back in the office. Such an activity can really drag down your productivity. It is time for an upgrade.
Liberate your location: It’s not exactly telecommuting — a trend that more and more companies are exploring each year — but for your fleet of vehicles, being able to complete, submit and update your digital inspection forms in the cloud is the closest you will experience to it.
Speed it up: You and your drivers already have to face the doldrums of being on the road and the intense pressure of dealing with traffic, road construction and any of a million potential delays. But time remains, as always, of the essence. Now, with fleet vehicle inspection software, you can streamline your process so that you can move on to the next step.
Enhance performance: When you are able to expedite your business processes, you’re not only afforded with a tremendous time savings, but you have the opportunity to reach new service levels that you never would have been able to achieve. Step up your performance now, and your company will be poised for more success going forward.
Collect that data: Because the digital inspection forms house all the necessary data in one unified server in the cloud, you’ll be able to analyze data like never before. Create customized reports, and you never know what you’ll learn or what new opportunity for improvement you’ll uncover.
A COMPETITIVE EDGE
In today’s marketplace, you’ll need every advantage you can get. Don’t waste another moment clinging to antiquated business practices when your competitors are embracing a more streamlined approach. Vehicle inspection software can present you with the opportunity you need to keep your vehicles out in the field without sacrificing your managerial control or risking the safety of your drivers and the stability of your business.
This system will work wonders on your productivity, drastically cutting down on inspection times and keeping your drivers busier than ever before. In fact, you’ll probably wish that you had implemented fleet vehicle inspection software long ago, but don’t get too caught up in what might have been. Rather, focus on just how much better your business can be with this newfound resource in your corner.
The benefits we’ve discussed above should offer a compelling argument for why it’s worthwhile to consider introducing such a system into your existing business processes. Many options are already out there vying for your patronage, but with design and functionality specifically built with companies like yours in mind, we’re confident that Whip Around can not only meet your needs but exceed your expectations as well.
Time and again, our clients are wowed by the many ways in which fleet vehicle inspection software can revolutionize their previous process. Don’t struggle with your inspections when an easier way is just a few moments away. If you’re interested in learning more about how Whip Around works, check out our website for details on how you can get started now!
Federal law requires drivers to complete a driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) for any vehicle they operate. Drivers must also review the previous day’s vehicle inspection form, signing off on any errors or other issues before operating the vehicle.
It’s a simple enough requirement, and its obvious purpose is to keep everyone on the road safe. Yet for managers operating large fleets, tracking daily DVIRs, ensuring drivers complete them, and addressing any issues these reports identify can become an onerous task.
Enter the DVIR -- Digital Vehicle Inspection Report. An easy, affordable alternative to endless stacks of paper, digital documents help managers stay on top of their fleet, while remaining in compliance with the law.
Whip Around offers easy-to-complete digital reports, encouraging drivers to remain in compliance without a manager continually reminding them. The future of vehicle inspection reports is digital. Switch to eDVIR now and watch life get a lot easier for everyone involved.
DRIVER COMPLIANCE: AN UNFAIR BURDEN FOR EVERYONE
You can’t operate a fleet very long without running into the incredible burdens of getting drivers to accurately and fully complete vehicle inspection forms each and every day. Indeed, many managers spend a significant amount of their time and energy dealing with these reports. Does the following task list sound familiar (and overwhelming)?
In a given day you probably:
Remind drivers to complete their inspection forms - possibly multiple times.
Find that certain vehicles have no completed inspection forms, and must find the driver and ask them to complete the form.
Must review vehicle inspection forms to ensure that they are complete and accurate.
Have to manage vehicles with flagged flaws. That might include finding mechanics, rerouting drivers, changing schedules, and managing other logistical issues associated with having a vehicle out of commission.
Have to remind drivers that it’s not enough to just check off boxes. They must actually inspect the vehicles, and ensure they are safe to drive.
This is a burden that slows everyone down, and can even erode morale. No one likes a manager standing over their shoulder constantly telling them what to do. Depending on your drivers’ educational level and patience, they may find inspection forms overwhelming, confusing, or impossible to complete.
A driver who is an excellent motorist might be almost totally incapable of filling out forms. This creates an unfair situation: the driver who is excellent at their job is continually getting negative feedback because of their inability to do something only tangentially related to their job. And a manager who understands this challenge is stuck trying to manage it.
It’s easy to just throw up your hands. But it’s important to consider that there are very good reasons to conduct routine vehicle inspection reports.
THE REAL REASON YOU MUST CONDUCT DAILY VEHICLE INSPECTIONS
Globally, almost 1.3 million people die in car crashes every year, with about 37,000 dying annually in the United States alone. That’s more than the number of people who die from many other illnesses. It’s a staggering figure. What’s even more troubling is that these deaths are almost entirely preventable.
Vehicle inspection reports help you do your part to stem the tide of people dying in car crashes. About 43% of car crashes are due, in full or in part, to mechanical failure. If your fleet includes large vehicles, even a minor failure can be catastrophic. Consider the effects of weak brakes on a tractor trailer, and what might happen if that truck rear-ends another. What might be a minor accident in a small car can be fatal for everyone when a large vehicle is involved.
Daily inspections can save lives. They also protect your company by:
Reducing the risk that you’ll be sued over an accident or injury.
Protecting your drivers.
Promoting your good reputation by ensuring your drivers do not endanger others.
Perhaps most importantly of all, daily vehicle inspection reports are mandated by federal law. Some states have also enacted additional requirements. So even if you can’t see the value of these reports on their own, failure to complete them could put your business in jeopardy.
DVIR: A WAY TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW
Vehicle inspection reports are vital to everyone’s safety. They ensure that vehicle issues are quickly flagged before they escalate out of control. In so doing, they keep drivers, motorists, and your company safe. If something goes wrong, a well-designed and accurate vehicle inspection report can mean save your company and its reputation.
A fully completed vehicle inspection report may even become an important piece of evidence following an accident or other incident. If the report is thorough and accurate, it could protect you from fines and lawsuits. If not, you could be in a world of legal trouble.
Beyond the commonsense benefits of tracking vehicle safety and compliance, the law requires that most drivers operating commercial vehicles complete daily reports. Failure to comply with the law can have myriad consequences, including fines and other harsh penalties.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires:
Drivers must inspect and complete a vehicle inspection report each day. The report must include both the vehicle and the trailer, if there is one. It cannot be just a cursory “check-off,” either. The report must be an accurate statement of the vehicle’s condition.
Fleet managers can design their own forms so long as those forms meet DOT requirements. Those requirements include, at minimum, an inspection of service brakes, trailer brake connections, parking brake, steering mechanism, reflectors, lighting devices, horn, tires, windshield wipers, rear view mirrors, wheels and rims, coupling devices, and emergency equipment.
All defects to a vehicle must be repaired before it is operated again. So a driver who signs off on a report indicating a defect when those defects have not been remedied could subject his or her company to compliance issues. A declaration must clearly state that any defects have been remedied.
It’s not enough to just complete these forms, though. You have to keep them on file for a minimum of three months. Many advisors even suggest that managers retain inspection forms longer. After all, these forms can be used to document a history of compliance, become important evidence in a lawsuit, or even show that repairs for which you seek a tax deduction were actually made. These forms form a vital part of your daily operations, and neglecting them can throw your company into disarray.
VEHICLE INSPECTION FORMS: THE ENDLESS PILE OF PAPER -- AND WHY IT’S A PROBLEM
You need at least one vehicle inspection form per vehicle each day. Depending on whether there are issues with the vehicle, you may need to gather additional paperwork, including a declaration that faults with the vehicle have been repaired. Federal law requires you to retain these forms for three months, though there are myriad reasons to retain them longer.
The result? An endless pile of paper. Even if you have just four vehicles and opt to retain your reports for only three months, that’s 360 forms at the end of that period if your vehicles are operated each day. This is more than most managers can reasonably be expected to keep up with.
We need also to consider why managers should remain on top of paperwork. Vehicle inspection reports prove compliance with the law. They document a vehicle’s repair and fault history. They can also document a driver’s history of both inspections and compliance—two critical factors if the driver gets into an accident or you are sued for something the driver does (or doesn’t do).
How quickly can you access your vehicle reports? If a driver gets into an accident, will you be able to pull the vehicle’s entire history without tearing apart your office? If you're accused of noncompliance, can you easily show that you have always complied with the law?
Even if you can, consider how much time and energy you waste gathering and storing paperwork. If you’re like most managers, it’s probably nearly impossible for you to maintain an organized stack of papers across a long period of time. This means you may spend significant portions of your work day dealing with papers -- organizing them, finding them, and possibly discarding them.
What could you do with an extra hour or two each day? Consider how much you get paid per hour. That’s how much money your company loses when you have to spend that time fighting about paperwork and locating misplaced documents. Think about how your life would be different if you could eliminate this chronic source of low-level stress from your life.
You might be able to:
See more of the big picture, empowering you to streamline operations.
More effectively supervise your team.
Better observe drivers, offering them quality feedback and incentives.
Enjoy a vacation without fear. If you have a well-managed system in place, then finding documents in your absence becomes much easier -- and doesn’t have to involve trashing your office.
Some managers already know how much easier it is when they don’t have to manage paperwork. That’s because they’ve already given up. They throw papers in a pile in the corner of the office, and hope they never have to look at them again. Inevitably, they regret this decision when they have to prove compliance, answer to a higher-up, or provide evidence for litigation. Don’t buy your short-term relaxation at the long-term expense of your company and your well-being.
You really can quit spending so much time managing paperwork while still organizing that paperwork in an effective and orderly fashion. The solution is a digital vehicle inspection report (eDVIR).
THE WHIP AROUND SOLUTION
Whip Around ends the paperwork nightmare. Our simple and powerful software fully digitizes vehicle inspection reports.
What does this mean for you?
Everything is saved. You no longer have to worry about lost paperwork. And that means you can save vehicle inspection forms for as long as you want, potentially extending immense protections to your company and your drivers.
No more piles of paper in the corner of your office.
Less time spent hounding drivers to fill out paperwork. The paperwork is readily available, and you can design powerful forms that your drivers understand and can easily complete.
You can search for whatever forms you need -- whether it’s the complete history of a single vehicle, or details about a pattern of problems you’ve seen across multiple vehicles.
Your history of compliance is fully documented. In fact, your use of digital vehicle inspection reports may even help prove that you’re committed to compliance. Federal agencies understand that errors may occur on forms.
BUILD YOUR OWN INSPECTION FORMS
Whip Around allows managers to effortlessly build their own inspection forms. This helps you comply with the law, while creating forms your drivers actually understand. Use the lingo your drivers use, and refer to vehicles by their names -- rather than by the generic terms you might see in forms you download off the Internet.
Whip Around walks you through the process, making it easy to construct attractive forms that get the job done, and that memorialize what’s most important to you.
INSPECT FROM VIRTUALLY ANY DEVICE
Forget about being tied to the computer. Whip Around allows drivers to fill out inspection forms with their phones. What’s more, it prevents them from merely checking off a box. They must physically inspect the vehicle, and provide satisfactory information about its condition. This ensures that drivers can easily inspect vehicles without disrupting the flow of their day. It also ensures that the data you get from those inspections is accurate and actionable.
That keeps your drivers safe, your cars in sound working order, and ensures you remain in compliance.
IMMEDIATELY ADDRESS INSPECTION REPORTS
One of the biggest challenges of vehicle reports is responding to mechanical issues. This complex task requires choosing the right mechanic, tracking the progress of repairs, and ensuring nothing gets lost in the shuffle. It can also be helpful to observe trends over time -- such as if you continually see the same mechanical issue in the same vehicle, associated with the same driver, or after driving the same route.
Whip Around makes it easy to flag mechanical issues, to monitor changes over time, to assign repairs to a mechanic, and to notify drivers when a repair is done. This empowers you to intelligently plan routes, support your drivers, and maintain a professional, safe driving environment.
The world of fleet management is tough. It’s more than most managers can manage on their own. And now, they don’t have to. Regain control over your life and time with Whip Around. We keep your drivers safe, your vehicles in excellent operating condition, and ensure your company is always moving forward.