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.