One of the most important aspects of a fleet manager's job is to ensure that the fleet is compliant. Class A CDL is imperative for the fleet manager's pre-trip inspections.
Driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIR) are already an integral part of managing your fleet. So, when it comes to how best to coordinate this critical task, the question isn’t so much whether DVIR is worth the effort — it absolutely is — but how best to go about satisfying this requirement and maintaining the protection it affords you and your business.
Electronic DVIR gives you the chance to revolutionize your approach to filing detailed reports, even presenting you with the capability to conduct pre-trip inspections on your phone. It’s a whole new day for DVIR. So let’s delve into how this latest tool works and how it can facilitate your business.
A MODERN SOLUTION
In the old days, DVIR would present you with a record of your vehicle’s condition, one which could serve as evidence to both the vehicle’s condition if an accident should occur and which ensures that the likelihood of any such incident would be minimized. After all, vehicle collisions are among the most common causes of death.
Thankfully, eDVIR plays the same essential role in your fleet management, albeit with a streamlined methodology that emphasizes ease of use and accuracy above all else. Drivers still need to complete and submit forms before and after each trip, but electronic reports allow for a level of customization and access that just isn’t possible by traditional means.
What once proved to be a burden actually creates a smoother environment for all. While drivers will find these electronic forms so much more accessible, you’ll be able to shed the worry about when you’ll receive the latest inspection reports and how to proceed. eDVIR uses a cloud-based system, meaning you’ll be able to evaluate reports instantly and leap into action to address any outstanding concerns.
In general, this new system facilitates the your ability to keep your fleet running strong and eliminates the need for copious paperwork. Less work and a more streamlined process make less work for everyone involved and boost your fleet’s capacity to handle each project in a timely manner.
THE FULL ADVANTAGE
You’ve already assembled a winning team, but the way you do business very likely could use a tune-up. So let’s break down some of the key benefits that eDVIR offers. First, we’ve alluded to the time savings already, but seeing as time is one of the most limited resources you need, this aspect of eDVIR stands above all others.
Since you can build and customize your own forms, inspection reports can be completed in a fraction of the time they once were and, thanks to the mobile capability, they can be completed from anywhere at anytime via a smartphone or other mobile device. Simply log in to the system, complete the form and submit it, and it is automatically saved in the system and added to the unlimited storage of your archives.
This ability to have the latest information right at your fingertips makes it that much easier to schedule necessary maintenance and repairs, keeping you one step ahead of your competitors. Moreover, the simplified forms reduce the chance that human error will interfere with your operation. After all, you never know when you’ll need to submit your full reports for audit.
You’ll already have them ready in waiting in your digital storage space, but now you’ll be far more confident in how well they’ll reflect the activities of your fleet. Once you give eDVIR a try, we know you’ll see the difference instantly and probably wonder why you spent so long wasting time on its paper-based counterpart.
CHECKING IT TWICE
Though the system is vastly modernized, eDVIR still functions like the DVIR you’re used to. You’ll still need to run through a checklist of inspection points just like you’re filling out a paper form. You’ll simply be doing so from the convenience of your mobile device. Here are the most important elements you’ll need to review before starting a new trip:
Brakes: Your vehicle has many critical parts that must be working properly to ensure the safety of your drivers and others on the road. Needless to say, your brakes are among the most important. Of course, don’t forget your service and parking brakes.
Steering and horn: Your driver’s ability to accurately pilot the vehicle without incident depends on the soundness of the steering mechanism. But don’t forget to verify that your horn is working as it should. If something does go wrong, this is the best way to let others know.
Tires and wheels: When you’re on the road as much as your fleet is, your tires certainly take the bulk of the damage. If they don’t have sufficient tread on them, you could be heading for disaster. So be mindful of the condition of your tires and wheels before you hit the road, including whether your tires simply need a bit of air first.
Lights and reflectors: Like your tires, your lights reflect the natural wear and tear that occurs when you’re always on the road. Check that they are all working properly and all that reflectors are attached. You’d be surprised how often such a simple item can make a life-changing difference.
Windshield wipers and mirrors: Especially when you’re driving a large commercial vehicle, your mirrors are your greatest hope to orient yourself with the other cars on the road. Likewise, your windshield wipers defend against the changing conditions you may encounter and require frequent replacement.
Emergency kit: If you do find yourself in a dire situation, an emergency kit filled with maintenance repair items and other must-haves can really come in handy. You never know what might happen out there. So your best bet is to be ready for a crisis if one does occur.
A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
We can’t imagine you’re still doubting how eDVIR can enhance your fleet management skills, but if you do need more information about how it compares to traditional DVIR, you might want to check out our handy infographic. The benefits of taking your inspection reports into the modern world are already apparent, and the technology is quickly on its way to becoming the standard-bearer throughout the industry.
Don’t let your competition get an edge on you, especially when eDVIR can maximize your productivity and efficiency in such a significant way. To get started for free, visit our website and sign up for a demo of Whip Around today.
Fleet managers have a wide and seemingly endless array of responsibilities -- assigning drivers to cars, managing supply chain issues, promoting, hiring, firing and so much more. Staying on top of pre-trip vehicle inspections can feel like little more than another headache, and a meaningless hassle.
Yet these pre-trip vehicle inspections are non negotiable. A driver-vehicle inspection report (DVIR) is a key part of your daily operations. Here’s why inspections are so important -- and what you can do to make them a bit less stressful.
IT’S THE LAW
DVIRs are more than just a burden imposed on employees by employers. They’re required under federal law. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires pre-trip inspections before each haul. The driver must be satisfied that all parts are in good working order. If they’re not, the vehicle must be repaired before anyone can drive it.
Some important highlights of the law include:
Companies aren’t required to use any specific form, but they are required to use a form that ensures all major parts of the vehicle are fully inspected and in good working order.
The inspection must occur before each daily haul. So a driver taking a multi-day trip must perform an inspection each day.
The driver or company must certify that the inspection has occurred, and that all parts are safe and in good working order.
Companies that fail to comply with the law can land in serious trouble. They may be fined or even lose licenses or certifications. This can cost your company lots of money, and may even cost you your job. Though inspections can be a pain, the cost of not doing them is much higher. Do you really want to spend your day explaining a failure to inspect a vehicle, or testifying in a deposition?
IT KEEPS PEOPLE SAFE
Pre-trip inspections keep people safe -- both truckers and motorists. Trucks are massive vehicles, and a minor issue on a truck is not like a minor issue on a car. Consider how a flat tire on a truck can cause a multi-car pileup, or how an item flying out of the back of a trailer could be fatal to motorists.
Likewise, a major accident could injure or even kill a driver. Your drivers are the backbone of your company. They're also human beings with lives and families. So it’s important to help them understand that pre-trip inspections are for their own safety as well. Driving a truck is one of the deadliest jobs in the U.S., with nearly 800 truckers dying on the road each year. Pre-trip inspections make driving safer for everyone.
Research has shown that a leading cause of trucking accidents is vehicle maintenance issues. Failure to complete a pre-trip inspection in compliance with the law is also a leading cause of trucking suits. This is why it’s so critically important to perform daily comprehensive inspections -- not just perfunctory reviews that involve little more than checking off a few boxes.
IT TRACKS PATTERNS OVER TIME
Does it feel like a truck is always broken, or like you’re spending too much money on tires? Pre-trip inspection reports help you track trends over time. This can help you determine whether there's a problem with a truck, a mechanic, a part, a driver or something else.
You might find that vehicles tend to break more after being serviced by a particular mechanic. Or perhaps you have more trouble with your trucks whom a specific trucker drives. Identifying these patterns can help you prevent them from spiraling out of control. This can save you money, and may even save lives on the road.
IT CAN PROTECT YOUR COMPANY
Sooner or later, there will be an accident or injury. It could be unavoidable, because of a tire that blows. Or it might be because a driver made a simple but costly error. In either scenario, you will eventually have to answer for what happened.
What will you say to the lawyer in depositions? How will you provide information about the vehicle’s history? How can you prove that you were committed to safety at all times, and that trucks were diligently and consistently inspected?
This is where pre-trip inspections come into play. They act as a sort of due diligence, serving as evidence of a consistent commitment to safety. They show that you have properly and timely inspected your vehicles and made repairs. They show a commitment to compliance with the law. They may even reveal a problem with a part. For instance, if many trucking companies have problems with the same part, this could mean that the part is the problem and needs to be recalled.
Without these inspection reports, you may look negligent. This can be used against you in court, and in the court of public opinion. Regular inspections -- plus intelligent storing of the DVIRs they produce -- are key to protecting your company.
MAKING PRE-TRIP INSPECTIONS LESS STRESSFUL
At Whip Around, we understand that pre-trip inspections are vital to your company’s operations, to driver safety, and to safer roads. We also know that these inspections can be a massive pain. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to keep truckers safe and minimize hassle.
We offer customizable forms. Simply check a few boxes and build your own forms. This makes it easier for drivers to understand inspection requirements, and can reduce their temptation to cut corners by simply checking a few boxes. Our forms encourage drivers to really commit to safety inspections.
Because we store the forms for you, we also put an end to messy offices and endless piles of paper. If you need a form at any time for any reason, it’s searchable and readily accessible. No more clutter. No more lost documents. No more concerns about fines, lawsuits, or failure to comply with government regulations.
You have enough on your plate. Stop worrying about pre-trip inspections. Let us do the heavy lifting, so you can get back to the business of running your fleet. Ready to learn more? Call us today to learn how we can help you!
Pre-trip inspections are more than just cursory searches for mechanical defects. They’re required by law, and failing to do them can cost your company dearly. Perhaps equally important, these inspections can save lives, help your vehicles last longer, and ultimately help you make more money -- and keep more of what you earn rather than paying fines or lawsuits.
The problem, of course, is that it’s easy for pre-trip inspections to become just one more thing you do by mindlessly. Rather than inspecting the vehicle to ensure it’s truly safe to operate, drivers or inspectors may just run through a list, quickly checking boxes without really paying attention to potential problems.
That’s a choice that puts everyone on the road in danger. So it’s time to refocus on your pre-trip inspections, and ensure they truly protect your drivers, your vehicles, and the public.
Don’t forget about these 5 often-overlooked issues during a pre-trip inspection.
SAFETY IN THE CAB
Safety begins in the cab of the truck. Many drivers spend long days on the road, and the truck cab becomes part home, part hotel, part garbage heap. That results in a cab chock full of old food, magazines, garbage, clothes, and an embarrassing cornucopia of other sundry items. These items are more than just an eyesore. They’re also a safety issue.
Consider how a driver fumbling for his wallet might knock a ton of other items loose, or take his eyes off of the road. Or how a driver who’s allowed too many bags of Cheetos to accumulate in her cab might accidentally knock trash under the brakes.
If there is an accident, trash in the cab can fly into the driver and injure them. It can crack windshields. If the windows are down, it can even fly out of the cab. A driver going 55 mph or more turns those small items into dangerous projectiles.
Don’t forget that cleanliness counts when it comes to driving. Check the cab for hidden hazards, and enact strategies to help drivers keep the cab safely clean.
Some other safety issues to check in the cab include:
Seatbelt safety. Seatbelts save lives. It’s a cliché because it’s true. So check for signs of dangerous wear and tear, including frayed edges and belts that don’t properly retract. Buckle the seatbelt to ensure it buckles and releases properly. Then give it a sharp tug to ensure it will lock in the event of a crash.
Emergency kit. The law requires you to carry an emergency kit, and carrying one can save lives in the event of an emergency. Check for a fire extinguisher, warning hazard triangles, and spare circuit breakers and fuses. If other drivers drive the vehicle, ensure these are all in a central location, and organized in a manner that makes everything easy to find. Don’t just check for the presence of an emergency kit. Make sure everything is in it. And always check to ensure the fire extinguisher actually works.
Unusual wear and tear in the cab. Is anything cracked inside of the cab? How do the gears look? Damage to mechanical parts in the cab can point to a more serious problem, so make sure the inside of the cab points to a truck in excellent working order.
It’s all about the wheels, as any driver who’s dealt with a flat tire or a damaged axle knows. So don’t just give the wheels a quick once-over. Wheel and tire inspections save lives. One item that may be overlooked is the need to inspect for items lodged between tires.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety alliance recently changed its policies to denote that a solid object lodged between tires is grounds for a violation. At least one driver recently died when a rock hidden here became dislodged and turned into a dangerous projectile. It doesn’t matter how small the stuck item is. If it goes flying at 55 or 70 mph, it can become deadly.
While it’s not legally required, going above and beyond with tire inspections is a great way to prevent damage to vehicles. Consider carefully checking underneath the truck for items that are lodged underneath the vehicle. These could get stuck in tires.
Some other items to pay careful attention to include:
Wheel lug nuts. Lug nuts are their own world, with myriad things that can go wrong. One common problem is a weak wheel fastener. This might seem trivial, but a wheel that becomes dislodged and goes barreling down the road is a crisis for the driver, for other motorists, and for your business. It’s so easy to prevent.
Rust. Rust around lug nuts may point to a problem with the bolt hole. Check for severely rusty areas around the wheels as well, since these areas can become weakened and misshapen with time.
And of course, don’t forget to chock the wheels at the beginning of the inspection. It seems obvious. It seems silly even to mention it. But when you do hundreds of inspections at year, it’s easy to forget these important basics. Your engine will be running, and the truck can move. Prevent a potential disaster by ensuring the vehicle is stabilized.
Trucks depend on their brakes. Other drivers depend on these brakes not to fail. And let’s face it: when truckers are rushing to get from point A to point B, some test their brakes a lot more than they should. They drive to fast, follow too closely, or are too slow to stop.
So brake inspections should operate according to the assumption that the brakes need to work perfectly. Don’t assume that a driver will compensate for faulty brakes, or that OK brakes are good enough. Failed brakes kill. Drivers and operators intuitively know this, but many continue to gloss over brake checks. Don’t be one of them.
Brake violations are a leading cause of road accidents, a primary source of mechanical failures, and among the most common roadside inspection violations. Brake checks involve many steps, both inside and outside of the cab. Don’t neglect any step, since a simple inspection can reveal a potentially life-threatening brake issue.
LIGHTS AND REFLECTORS
With so many lights on a truck, it’s common for one or more to burn out. The violation might seem like a small one, but it’s still a violation -- and an easily fixed one, at that. Check each light, and replace any that have burned out or broken. Remember that other drivers depend on these lights to see truckers coming, and that even a few missing lights can make the vehicle less visible.
Don’t forget about reflectors. A quick inspection of your reflectors can reveal easily remedied problems.
PLANNING FOR FUTURE MAINTENANCE
A pre-trip inspection shroud involve more than checking boxes to comply with the law. Ultimately, these inspections are about keeping everyone safe. They’re also a powerful opportunity for you to plan for potential hiccups down the road.
Is a vehicle approaching an oil change?
Might it need new tires in the next 5,000 miles?
Use your pre-trip inspections as a chance to monitor for vehicles that are still in good working order, but that might need maintenance in the next several months. This allows you to budget for necessary maintenance, change your trip schedule as necessary, and ensure the vehicle is assigned to a mechanic well before it passes the deadline for routine maintenance.
Having a system already in place for flagging vehicles that may need maintenance can save you time, hassle, and stress. Whip Around allows you to build your own inspection forms, then assign vehicle maintenance to the mechanic of your choice. Consider incorporating form details that allow drivers to flag that a vehicle may soon need maintenance. It’s a simple way to keep your schedule, and your sanity, intact.
HOW WHIP AROUND MAKES INSPECTIONS SAFER AND EASIER
Let’s face it: pre-trip inspections take time. They also create their own set of problems, including:
The need to pull vehicles from the road to schedule them for routine maintenance.
Monitoring the progress of major repairs to damaged vehicles.
Keeping track of and storing inspection reports.
Ensuring drivers fully inspect each vehicle, rather than just ticking off a bunch of boxes.
Logging inspection-related data over time. Tracking inspection reports can help you detect problems with specific vehicles or families of vehicles. This can inform buying decisions, help you devise a better inspection timetable, and more.
These inspections are vital for road safety. They’re also critical for the success of your business. Inadequate or missing inspections may:
Subject you to costly fines and penalties.
Make you more vulnerable to lawsuits, particularly if the other side can show you didn’t do an inspection, or that you ignored the results of an inspection.
Delay vehicles from going back on the road. If you miss inspections, this can cause mechanical problems to get worse. That means more time off the road, and more costly repairs.
Endanger your drivers and other motorists.
Cause you to lose your best drivers, who may go to companies that are better at staying on top of vehicle safety and maintenance.
We understand that pre-trip inspections and DVIRs can be an immense burden. Here are our tips for lightening the load:
FOSTER A SAFETY-FIRST CULTURE
No form or program will fix a culture that prioritizes speed at the expense of safety. The key to effective inspections and safe drivers is a culture that truly prioritizes safety.
Some tips for building that culture include:
Not rushing drivers or encouraging them to cut corners.
Regular substantive safety training.
An open door policy that encourages drivers to express concerns and offer safety strategies.
Modeling the behavior you want to see. Emphasize safety in all that you do.
Making pre-trip inspections easy for drivers. Build intuitive forms written in plain language. Whip Around lets you do precisely that.
SWITCH TO DIGITAL DVIR REPORTS
Digital DVIR reports alleviate much of the burden posed by pre-trip inspections. The law don't require you to use any specific form, as long as you address all of the required basic components of an inspection. So build your own. This allows you to ensure your forms make sense, that they are intuitive, and that they force drivers to do a full inspection -- not a cursory walk-through.
Whip Around allows you to build elegant functional inspection forms in just minutes. Forget about forms you found online that are irrelevant or nonfunctional. We can show you a better way.
DITCH THE PAPER PILE
Pre-trip inspection forms exist for a reason. They serve as proof of your compliance with the law. And they help you document the entire history of a vehicle. If you are sued, accused of noncompliance, or simply need to review what work you’ve had done to a vehicle, these reports are invaluable.
Yet most managers allow these forms to pile up in a precarious heap in their offices. When they need the forms, they can’t find them. In many ways, they might as well not have them at all. The switch to digital can prevent this hassle. Whip Around allows you to organize forms for each vehicle without a paper pile or a boatload of frustration. If you need information about a specific vehicle, you can search for it without creating an avalanche of paperwork.
Paper can be a hassle for vehicle inspectors, too. They have to find the right form, take it to the inspection, ensure the form isn’t dirty or lost, and then give it to the right person. This is a recipe for missing, damaged, or incomplete paperwork. It’s also a surefire way to frustrate and annoy drivers. At Whip Around, we believe everyone deserves better than this. And we aim to deliver on that belief with solutions that work for today’s fleets.
The number one reason pre-trip inspections fail is that they are rushed. Drivers feel pressured to get on the road so they can earn more money. Managers penalize inspectors who take too long. Or the confusing nature of forms pressures drivers to rush, or to divert their attention to the form instead of the vehicle.
Whip Around can solve all of this, and more. We offer intuitive, customized fleet management services that make pre-trip inspections a snap. Better still, we don’t forget about safety. We can help you save time, money, and hassle while making your inspections more comprehensive. Then we’ll help you flag defects, assign repairs to a mechanic, and get your vehicle back on the road -- all with the click of a button.
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!
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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?
Every fleet driver is required by law to perform thorough pre-trip vehicle inspections. Taking the necessary precautions to ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive does not only protect the driver, it is to consider the safety of everyone else on the road as well. Unfortunately, there are currently no guidelines for how long an inspection should take. If what should be checked is properly examined, a full inspection should take 30 to 50 minutes.
Yet, many drivers rush over it and end up only spending 15-20 minutes on the task. Because many drivers do not get paid for the time they spend on each inspection, they would rather get it over with and start making headway on their trip as soon as possible. This is not only very dangerous, the CSA violation fines are not cheap.
The ugly truth about pre-trip fleet vehicle inspections are, most drivers are not making them a priority, but they need to be. Every fleet vehicle needs to make sure their drivers are committed to this process, or the results could be damaging.
MISTAKES COMMONLY MADE DURING INSPECTIONS
Without proper guidelines, it is easy to breeze over things. Because of this, there is usually at least one mistake. Just one mistake could:
reduce the efficiency of the truck
cause long-term maintenance issues
and endanger the lives of many
It is up to fleet companies to enforce strict rules in order to avoid these common mistakes from happening in the future:
Insecure brakes. Checking a trucks brake system is not an easy task. The driver must climb in and out of the truck multiple times and squeeze down under the trailer. Many skip this step because it’s viewed as a pain. The reality is, brakes get worked really hard on the road, and they are often times not in proper condition. If they were to fail, there could be some serious consequences. Almost a third of all violations during roadside inspections have to do with the brakes, so every driver should spend extra time inspecting them.
Not chocking wheels. Chocks are a simple feature to secure the wheels during an inspection. This keep the vehicle in place and the inspector safe, yet many tend to forget this step or consider it unnecessary.
A messy cab. One of the first things an inspector will notice is the condition of the cab. This is where the driver is expected to be able to carry out their business, and if the cab is a mess it doesn’t make them look very responsible. Too much junk can get in your way and creates the possibility of hindering the functionality of mechanical operations (objects getting lodged under breaks or being thrown in line of vision with a sharp turn). The cab should be kept clean and all loose objects put in the glove compartment or secured in some way.
Faulty reflectors. The lights may be working fine, but if the reflectors are defective, visibility of the vehicle can be drastically reduced for others. Drivers on the road may not be able to see the vehicle in poor weather conditions or at night. Few drivers check their reflectors for cracks or dirt. This is something the driver may consider insignificant, but they still could receive a violation for it.
Inadequate emergency kit. Each emergency kit must include:
warning hazard triangles
and a fire extinguisher
All of these items must be in working condition. Hazard triangles should be free of dirt so their reflective strips are visible. Fire extinguishers can lose pressure and need to be serviced on a regular basis.
Seatbelt problems. One should never assume their seatbelt is in good condition. If the edges are frayed the belt could snap. The way the belt retracts and returns should also be checked to ensure that it is smooth. If not, it could need replacing.
Properly placed mirror. The mirror should be adjusted so the driver’s visuals are at their best. Taking the time to do this is also viewed as a hassle by many. Not doing so could result in major blind spots. Mirrors must be angled correctly and secure enough that they won’t easily reposition themselves if the vehicle jerks.
Missing the wheels. So many problems can come from not checking the wheels and tires thoroughly. A common issue that arises is with the wheel fasteners. If these are loose, one of the wheels could come off while the truck is driving. The driver should also check for any rust around the lug nuts which could mean the bolt hole is widening.
Lack of proper paperwork. Oftentimes drivers do not check to make sure they have all of the proper paperwork and documents for the vehicle. Such papers should include:
up to date vehicle registration
up to date permit documents
and up to date ownership documents
When using eLogs, the driver should have one backup cycle’s worth of papers just in case. Every fleet vehicle must have a safety inspection approval sticker and the driver’s commercial driver’s license should be up to date.
The Department of Transportation has quite a few regulations that affect fleet drivers. Without proper pre-trip inspection, a driver risks the possibility of being fined for any of these. This is a list of some of those violations from the most severe to the least:
operating a vehicle that is out-of-service
violating airbrake restriction
belt material exposed on the tire
tread or sidewall separated
depth of tire front tread less than 4/32 of an inch
not using a seatbelt
leakage, spills, insecure cargo
inadequate tie downs
container not secured to front of the vehicle
inoperative tail lamp
turn signal not working
defective hazard warning lamp
dysfunctional fog/driving lamps
steering wheel not secured
loose steering column
components of steering system missing
power steering violations
no pre-trip inspection
dysfunctional brake system
no emergency braking
no tractor protection valve
no automatic trailer brake
brake hose not secured
brake connections with leaks where they connect to the power unit
brake connections with leaks under the vehicle
dysfunctional brake linings
brakes that will not safely stop
clamp or rotochamber type brake not properly adjusted
wedge type brakes not properly adjusted
dysfunctional brake limiting device dysfunctional air reservoir drain valve
dysfunctional brake warning device
not dimming headlights when required to
violating lane restrictions
not using two rear vision mirrors
defective lighting devices
defective coupling devices for full trailer
improper chain attachment
improper towing connection
cargo not properly secured
insufficient working load limit
insufficient arrangement of tie downs
failure to inspect emergency equipment
improper placement of warning devices
required lamps are inoperative
frame is cracked, loose, sagging, or broken
insufficient cab parts
cab door missing or not fully intact
cab seats not secure
front bumper missing or broken
bolt holes widened on wheels
wheel fasteners loose
floor condition inadequate
seatbelt broken or missing
inadequate fire extinguisher
no spare fuses
parts not properly maintained or repaired
oil or grease leaking from outer wheel
driver’s view obstructed
failure to use hazards
damaged, discolored, or obstructed windshield
emergency exit handle broken
fuel tank not properly secured
fuel tank pipe cap missing
exhaust system not properly located
exhaust discharge in wrong location
exhaust system not properly repaired
improper warning flag placement
intermodal container not secured
The list goes on. Considering that there are so many ways that drivers can receive violations, the driver should feel be as thorough as possible with every pre-trip inspection.
WHEN AN ACCIDENT OCCURS
If an accident occurs while the driver is on the job, a truck or fleet accident lawyer will look into the extent of the report that was filled out for the trip. Many of the lawyers will notice a 10 minute inspection as a red flag. If a driver only took 10 minutes for the inspection, it is clear that they skipped over a lot of things. During a deposition, a lawyer can ask the driver:
If their pre-inspection was completed
The parts that they inspected
In what manner the inspection was carried out
How long the inspection took
If it was recorded on FMCSA compliant paperwork
How often the inspection is performed throughout the trip
If the driver has ever found any faulty parts during an inspection
When the last time was that a driver reported a vehicle as out-of-service
If they truly think they took enough time to perform a proper inspection
How this person had been trained to carry out a proper pre-trip inspection
The lawyer will ask these questions to prove that the driver was not following proper safety protocols. This is not a position any employed driver wants to find themselves in. It may seem like a nuisance to do these inspections with every trip, but the extra time is worth it if they are going to avoid the devastating possible outcomes.
HOW TO KNOW YOUR DRIVERS ARE DOING PROPER PRE-TRIP INSPECTIONS
It is up the company to make sure that the drivers they employ are adequately trained and following proper procedures. With it instilled in the process, many problems will be avoided. Some suggestions for how to accomplish this are:
Train the drivers yourself. This way you can be sure that they understand what a thorough, adequate pre-trip inspection requires. You can also have a DOT officer pay a visit to do an example inspection for the drivers.
Never assume they know how to do it on their own. Not every driver may know how to do everything the right way. Make sure each driver you employ understands how to do every little thing, even down to changing a tire. People do not always know these things, and instead of telling you, they will simply skip over the items they know little about in their inspections.
Keep your drivers accountable. If you find something wrong with the vehicle that the driver did not report upon returning it, they should be responsible for it. Many will pay more attention to details if they know you are double checking their work.
Use technology. There are now electronic inspection aids on the market which provide the ability of managing the driver’s safety behavior and keeps scorecards for drivers to accent when they are doing a good job.
Make sure the problems are fixed after being in the shop. Many drivers have reported issues just to find the problem still existing after the vehicle went to the shop. This makes them feel like their efforts don’t make any difference. Make sure that when they find something, it is appreciated and taken care of.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Company management needs to be on top of their drivers and instill a system that ensures that all pre-trip inspections are being done fully. The repercussions for not doing so will reflect very poorly on the business and could get the driver into a lot of trouble on top of putting their safety at risk.
It is very easy to get away with skimming over these inspections here and there and then be in real trouble the minute that something goes wrong. Don’t let it get to that point, make it a priority to carry out pre-trip inspections thoroughly and correctly.
Whenever you send a driver out into the field, you know that there is a certain amount of risk involved. Managing an entire fleet of vehicles involves inviting possible disorder and endless potential for complications into your business. Literally anything can happen to your driver or his/her vehicle while they are in the midst of performing their duty.
So it’s essential that you take extra steps to ensure the safety of your drivers and the security of your vehicles. Thankfully, pre-trip inspections are one area of preparation that is fast becoming streamlined and even automated, making it much easier for any company with a fleet of vehicles on the road. In your case, a Class A pre-trip inspection needs to be an integral element of your process.
With so much of your business on the line, you must resist the temptation to cut corners when it comes to pre-trip inspections. Such precautions serve a variety of positive functions for your short-term and long-term prospects, and before you proceed with future plans, you might want to revisit some of your longest-held processes for opportunities for improvement.
Whether you’re already performing Class A pre-trip inspections or are completely new to this practice, we’re going to review everything you need to know to be sure that your company is reaping all the benefits of these inspections. You might just find that your current way of doing things falls tragically short of what pre-trip inspections can accomplish.
CLASS A DIFFERENCES
Taking stock of your vehicle before you hit the road is just a wise practice in general, no matter what you’re doing or where you’re headed. Whether it’s a long road trip with your family or a lengthy jaunt out of town for business, you’re placing a lot of faith in your vehicle whenever you don’t assess its condition and effectiveness beforehand.
However, when a commercial driver’s license like the Class A one your drivers likely use is involved, a pre-trip inspection is especially critical since the lack of such a regular practice could lead to disaster for you and your business.
It’s not just the commercial nature of your license holders that makes a pre-trip inspection so important for Class A licensees. This type of license — which, of course, is required to operate vehicles like tractor-trailers, truck/trailer combos and tankers — could be more prone to accidents, mishaps and other potentially harmful events due to just the sheer size and weight involved.
Also, for legal purposes, the fact that your cargo could be affected by an issue with your vehicle means that pre-trip inspections are as much of a must for Class A licensees as those with more specific types like Class B or C.
WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED
Safety is paramount whenever you have a driver out on the road, and pre-trip inspections might be able to prevent a tragedy from occurring. In the face of day-to-day operation, it’s easy for this priority to get lost in the shuffle, but you mustn’t let this occur if you hope to make the most of your business and your team.
A little preparation beforehand can help you smooth out the process for your Class A drivers. Having the right documentation on hand to keep everyone on the same page limit the potential for human error and holds everyone at your company accountable for their actions or lack thereof.
Before you send your vehicle out, you’ll need to double-check its condition and have your driver follow up with updates at least once a day. This is especially true when drivers are due to pick up a new trailer for their trucks or take a particularly long break in between their work, as you never know what might happen to a vehicle specifically during these times.
Since most of the commercial vehicles on the road are used on a near-constant basis, wear and tear can adversely affect many aspects of their operation. So, before you (or your driver) get ready for a pre-trip inspection, here’s some guidelines for how to prepare:
Have your tools handy: You’ll need a few basics to perform your inspection. You never know when you’ll have to jump in with a minor repair. So have a hammer on you. Also, regardless of when the inspection is being done, you should keep a flashlight at the ready so that you can zero in on the details of your vehicle. Of course, be sure that whoever performs the inspection is wearing gloves, to prevent any accidental injury that may occur.
Preliminary safety steps: Before any inspection begins, be absolutely certain that your parking brakes are set and that the transmission is securely switched into the first gear. Anything can happen during these pre-trip inspections, and safety must come first. You can never underestimate the potential for something to go terribly awry. Keeping the vehicle in this state — and even going so far as to put wheel immobilizers — places the life of your driver and others ahead of everything else.
Light your vehicle up: Both as a means to test these basic elements of your vehicle and to alert others to your activity, you should always switch your four-way flashes on, as well as your brake lights and headlights. These are some of the most important elements of your vehicle, since they are among the biggest accident deterrents. As such, you need to take great care in checking them first whenever an inspection is due.
Once you have the above steps taken care of, it’s time to remove your key, head around to the front of your vehicle and pop that hood open. Let’s get into the thick of your pre-trip inspection!
BREAKING DOWN THE INSPECTION PROCESS
The objectives of a pre-trip inspection are multifaceted. However, despite the many benefits of making this a routine part of how you conduct business, there are certain key elements that any inspection needs to cover to ensure its comprehensiveness and effectiveness. Here are some of the most basic aspects that your drivers need to hit with every inspection:
Overall safety: We’ll get into the full breadth of why pre-trip inspections are so important below, but for now, bear in mind that the general safety of each vehicle should be your top concern, starting with the aforementioned headlights, brake lights and other basic safety features. Safety is the primary function of any inspection.
Vehicle hoses: Be sure that every pre-trip vehicle inspection involves a look at all the major vehicle hoses. You never know when one can become detached or damaged or even spring a leak. Any puddles or drips will help tip you off to any kind of hose damage, but make it a point to specifically check for it.
Fluid levels: Sure, this may be automobile care 101, but it’s still worth mentioning all the same. Critical fluids such as motor oil and power steering fluid are, in many respects, the lifeblood of your vehicle. Before a vehicle is taken out on any trip, these fluids should all be at their optimal level to prevent incident and ensure peak performance.
Vehicle belts: If any damage were to come to any of the many belts that play integral roles in your vehicle’s operation, you might be facing a dangerous situation. So your inspection should include routine checks for the snugness and condition (especially watch out for cracks or frays) of your power steering belt, alternator belt and others.
Your clutch: Seeing as it governs the power transmission responsible for all your vehicle’s operation, your clutch (or gear shift) is easily one of the most important parts of your vehicle. Before any driving commences, check that it is functioning normally to prevent any trouble on the road.
Mirrors and windshields: It may sound so simple to even mention, but your vehicle’s visibility inevitably plays a role in your safety and security. All mirrors and windshields therefore must be unblemished, intact and clear. You don’t want anything — not even something as basic as a dirty or cracked mirror standing in the way of the safe performance of your vehicle.
Emergency equipment: Even with all the precautions you may be taking, your drivers should still be prepared for anything to happen. Case in point, it’s always a good idea to keep some emergency equipment — such as spare electrical fuses, reflective triangles and a fire extinguisher — on hand. If all goes well, you’ll never need them. But if it doesn’t, you’ll be ready.
Other concerns: Performing a top-to-bottom inspection of your vehicle means that you’ll want to keep a close eye on whether every element is working properly. For instance, check your oil pressure gauge and other standard parts of your vehicle for malfunction. This will prevent your driver from making a dangerous miscalculation on the road.
WHY PRE-TRIP INSPECTIONS ARE IMPORTANT
For Class A license holders, pre-trip inspections are an indispensable part of the job. With so many miles put on each vehicle on such a constant basis and so much riding on each trip, oftentimes a thorough inspection could be all that stands between a successful job and one that spells doom for all involved. Just imagine the results if one were to fail to perform a routine check on a vehicle and then some flaw that should have been easily identified winds up causing an accident.
These inspections allow a driver to regularly ensure that a vehicle’s various components are operating as they should and that nothing — either an unplanned event or the simple business operation of the vehicle — has resulted in any adverse effects that might impact the next day of work. Even if it sounds like it may slow down productivity, such a process could very well save lives and protect the long-term future of your business.
In addition to the safety of your driver and others on the road, another key reason that pre-trip inspections are so vital is that they provide documentation of a vehicle’s condition. If, for instance, an accident or damage to a vehicle does occur, daily vehicle inspection reports would serve as evidence that the vehicle was in a certain condition beforehand, making it easier to identify what damage resulted in the accident in question and increasing your chances of sussing out the truth of what happened.
Moreover, both you and your driver will have peace of mind with pre-trip inspections on the books. With the most likely root causes of problems definitively checked off, you can rest easy in knowing that your vehicle is in prime condition, essentially protecting your driver and your mission in one fell swoop.
A BETTER WAY TO INSPECT
Now that we’ve outlined everything you need to do for the perfect class-A pre-trip inspection as well as why it’s so important, we hope we’ve inspired you to enhance the way you approach your business, at least where such pre-trip precautions are concerned.
The steps you take before each of your drivers’ journeys out into the field can make a world of difference in your bottom line and in the overall well-being of your company. But, in the event that you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything involved in an optimal pre-trip inspection, allow us to make the entire process that much easier. After all, it’s our business to streamline and simplify pre-trip inspections for companies just like yours.
At Whip Around, we offer the opportunity to save you time and money by taking the guesswork and complications out of pre-trip inspections. You’ll be able to bid farewell to paper-based inspection reports and grant your drivers the ability to file even daily inspections — including photos, comments and additional notes — through their smartphone or other mobile device.
Thanks to modern technology, you can automate every detail of the inspection process and eliminate the administrative headaches that typically accompany daily vehicle inspection reports. Moreover, our system provide analytics so that you can find ways to serve your customers better without any other discovery process.
Even if you don’t think you need Whip Around, we’re confident that you’ll realize otherwise once you give it a try. For more information about our system and to get started for free, visit us now.
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.