The next leg of your route is planned. The weather is perfect, and dispatch confirmed that everything is A-OK. Bing, bang, boom, you’re now ready to hit the road, right?
You need to conduct your vehicle inspections first.
Forgetting this crucial step can prove damaging not just for you and the trucking company, but also for other vehicles on the road. What’s more, you could even be slapped with thousands of dollars worth of penalties if caught neglecting your vehicle inspections.
TL;DR: vehicle inspections are uber-important. That’s why we need to talk about DVIRs.
So in this post, we discuss all the important aspects of DVIRs, including pre-trip inspections, post-trip inspections, DVIR regulations, DVIR inspection checklist, and more.
1. What is a DVIR?
A Driver Vehicle Inspection Report or DVIR is a formal record that confirms a driver has completed a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inspection.
As a CMV driver, you need to carry out pre-trip vehicle inspections at the start of the day (before you start driving) and post-trip checks at the end of the workday. You should then add the information you obtained in a DVIR form.
DVIRs are vital because they ensure daily vehicle inspections are conducted, potential safety issues are identified, and faulty vehicle components are fixed. DVIRs help keep vehicles in good condition and truckers comply with federal regulations.
You can complete a DVIR on paper or electronically, but electronic DVIRs (eDVIRs) make the process more efficient, especially if you’re using an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) with vehicle inspection functionalities.
Motor carriers must keep or store the report for three months from the date of submission at your place of business or where you house your vehicle.
2. What is a pre-trip inspection?
A pre-trip inspection is a thorough examination of your commercial vehicle and all its major components and systems, such as the fuel tank, vehicle lights, and more, before each daily haul. This ensures the vehicle is in good condition and is safe to drive.
If you’re taking multi-day trips, you must perform a pre-trip inspection every day.
Pre-trip inspections also include reviewing the last completed DVIR on the vehicle before signing off any noted defects from the latest post-trip inspection.
Doing a pre-trip inspection might seem like a hassle to some, but it’s non-negotiable for road safety and federal law compliance purposes. Plus, it only takes about two minutes to complete, which is a small price to pay compared to facing potential violations and liabilities for not submitting a report.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulation under the Federal Law 49 CFR 396.13 requires pre-trip examinations.
Non-compliance to the FMCSA regulation under the Department of Transport or DoT pre-trip inspection requirements can get you hefty fines and even potentially losing certifications and licenses.
3. What is a post-trip inspection?
Specified under the FMCSA Federal Law 49 CFR 396.11, a post-trip inspection is a commercial vehicle inspection that you must complete at the end of each day’s work.
If you operate more than one vehicle, you must complete separate DVIRs for each CMV.
Performing a post-trip inspection helps you identify vehicle defects that may have occurred during your trip and necessary repairs before your next workday. It also removes future delays that could seriously impact your delivery times and operations.
You’ll need to record any vehicle issues you find and report defects to your fleet manager or motor carrier to ensure they are corrected and fixed.
Aside from safety and federal law compliance, conducting post-trip inspections has other benefits.
- First, it gives mechanics enough time to repair vehicle damages and reduce delays.
- Second, it gives you insight on how careful your drivers are when operating the vehicles. Lastly, you gain a better understanding of your vehicles’ health.
4. FMCSA DVIR regulations
In the United States, the FMCSA requires completion of a driver vehicle inspection report specified under Federal Law 49 CFR 396.11 and 396.13 to ensure commercial motor vehicle and road safety and compliance.
Adhering to DVIR regulations also helps you avoid roadside DoT violations.
The regulation provides specific guidance regarding DVIR and the requirements for compliance. This includes what you need to do, what information should be in the vehicle inspection report, and who needs to submit DVIRs.
5. DVIR exemptions
The DVIR regulation provides exemptions to specific operators. These are driveaway-towaway, motor carriers with only one CMV, and private motor carriers that carry passengers but not as a business.
6. DVIR inspection checklist
A standard DVIR inspection checklist should include:
- Steering mechanism
- Brakes and air system
- Wheels, tires, and rims
- Reflectors and lights
- Rearview mirrors
- Windshield wipers
- Safety and emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers and first-aid kits
- Coupling equipment and fifth wheels
- Power unit and trailer (if applicable)
These are just some of the basic components that should be in your DVIR. You need to check other parts of your vehicle equipment that ensures your truck is in good condition and safe for driving.
7. The four-step DVIR process
Completing a DVIR includes four basic steps:
- Step 1: Vehicle inspection. During your examination, conduct a circle check of your vehicle by checking under the hood, walking around to find damage or defects, and starting the engine to test the brakes, lights, and others.
- Step 2: Report defects. After completing the vehicle inspection, log and report any deficiencies or defects that can lead to breakdowns or impact your vehicle operations’ safety.
- Step 3: Sign off. Sign off on your report and submit it to the motor carrier.
- Step 4: Corrective action and repairs certification. Motor carriers should promptly fix and certify issues or defects identified in the DVIR that will affect safe vehicle operations.
Although the DVIR regulations specify what needs to be in a DVIR, it doesn’t exactly tell you how to fill out a DVIR form.
Make sure to include the following information in your DVIR:
- Vehicle identity such as the license plate number, fleet unit number, etc.
- The signature of the driver who prepares the DVIR
- The mechanic’s signature who fixed the vehicle or the authorized person who signed off that a repair was not necessary.
- The signature of the next vehicle driver to acknowledge that the repairs were made or not needed.
8. Penalties for not completing a DVIR
What are the penalties for not completing a DVIR?
If you violate the DVIR requirements under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), you could face devastating penalties, including:
- A maximum civil penalty of $1,270 a day for failing to complete a DVIR
- A maximum civil penalty of $12,695 for knowingly falsifying, destroying, or changing DVIR records
- A civil penalty not exceeding $15,419 for each non-recordkeeping violation
Aside from the fees, there are also other associated costs if you fail to comply with DVIR regulations and ensure your vehicle is functional and safe for operations.
For instance, if a DOT officer finds your vehicle unsafe during a roadside inspection, your truck will immediately be put out of commission until it is repaired.
This downtime can cause revenue loss for the carrier. It can also cause the carrier’s CSA score to take a hit, leading to loss of business.
9. Carrier responsibilities
Before getting a vehicle back on service, motor carriers must certify repairs, replace missing and defective parts, correct equipment deficiencies, and apply all other necessary fixes.
If there are no vehicle defects and issues that impact safe vehicle operations, carriers must certify that repairs were not needed.
10. Driver responsibilities
The responsibilities related to the DVIR if you’re the driver or operator include:
- Ensuring you perform complete circle checks
- Making sure all safety round reports are on board the vehicle
- Signing vehicle inspection reports that identified a vehicle defect or issue
- Informing the trucking company owner or motor carrier of any problems and defects promptly
- Sending the motor carrier or owner copies of all DVIRs
- Inspecting and signing off any vehicle repairs
An eDVIR or Electronic Driver Vehicle Inspection Report allows you to record, compile, and store DVIR information on electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets.
How eDVIRs work
Data from eDVIRs are synced directly to a fleet management software through a mobile application.
The connection between the software and mobile app allows for secure information transfers. It will enable quick and easy access for stakeholders such as drivers, fleet managers, trucking company owners, and more.
You can use the app to review and update your eDVIR anywhere and in real-time. This helps motor carriers and fleets to have a centralized record of inspection history, allowing authorized users to monitor progress, pull reports quickly, and promptly act on any driver, vehicle, or equipment issues that need to be addressed.
Benefits of using an eDVIR
While whipping out your pencil and writing your DVIR takes time and effort, an eDVIR offers features that make the vehicle inspection process less of a hassle, therefore encouraging you to complete your pre and post-trip inspections.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the advantages of using eDVIRs, including:
1. Improved efficiency
eDVIRs saves you time on conducting vehicle inspections. It helps you avoid rushing through your vehicle inspections, ensuring you do it properly and not missing anything that would impact the vehicle’s condition and safety.
For instance, writing information to complete your DVIR requires two hands, and it can be challenging to accomplish while inspecting your vehicle at the same time. This limits you from doing things such as checking battery connections and oil levels while logging all the information efficiently.
Using eDVIRs takes away these challenges since you’ll have the convenience and accuracy of using a smartphone or tablet to record your DVIR data.
You’ll get on the road faster, ensure your vehicle works properly and is safe for operations, and free up time you can use on more significant responsibilities.
2. Capture visual indications and details
Using an eDVIR allows you to take photos of vehicle issues such as a torn tire tread or wire and upload them quickly for your supervisor to review.
Taking a photo of vehicle defects helps support your findings upon inspection. It makes it easy for you to record and provide precise details about issues that impact your vehicle’s safety and operations.
3. Reduced paperwork
Writing your DVIR on paper means cramming a lot of information into small spaces. This makes it challenging to keep your reports neat and easy to read, leading to potential misinterpretation.
You avoid this problem using an eDVIR since you can quickly enter the information with a few swipes and clicks on your mobile device or tablet.
eDVIRs also reduce the chances of submitting incorrect information since you can quickly correct the details before submitting your report, increasing your accountability and improving your report’s accuracy.
4. Quick troubleshooting
It’s impressive how eDVIRs lets you send and transfer information quickly. Your fleet managers or supervisors won’t need to wait for a completed paper DVIR form to be updated and get a copy of your report.
They won’t need to worry about keeping paper DVIRs from getting damaged, lost, or physically compromised.
Additionally, eDVIRs make it easy for fleet supervisors and managers to take immediate action on serious issues or unusual entries during a vehicle inspection. This allows them to take a proactive approach and prevent potential vehicle operation downtimes.
5. Increase data visibility
An eDVIR connected to fleet management software helps drivers and fleet managers stay on top of their records since they can log data efficiently, and managers have immediate access to every inspection detail in the system.
Most eDVIRs and fleet management software lets fleet managers set up custom reports and notifications when submitting inspection reports.
eDVIRs also allows fleet managers to:
- Receive pre-trip and post-trip inspection reports in real-time
- Create FMCSA-compliant e-reports for trailers and tractors with ease
- Quickly flag vehicles that might have missed or bypassed inspection reports
- Reduce the risks of DVIR compliance violations
12. How KeepTruckin helps with DVIR (customizable DVIRs)
Ensure driver, road, and fleet safety and DVIR regulations compliance with the KeepTruckin customizable driver vehicle inspection report technology.
With the customizable vehicle inspection, you can assess your vehicle parts against the built-in checklist in the KeepTruckin Driver app, indicate the severity of the issue, and upload photos to include in your DVIR.
The customizable DVIR also in KeepTruckin also lets fleet managers create an inspection process that works best for the fleet, allowing them to make inspections mandatory or make room for reporting flexibility.
Additionally, the technology provides advanced reports that help managers analyze the fleet vehicles’ health and maintenance trends to ensure smooth fleet operations.
Learn more about KeepTruckin and its different features.
If you want to experience firsthand how the KeepTruckin all-in-one fleet management solution can help your fleet become more efficient and productive, request a free demo.
Disclaimer: All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute financial, business, or legal advice. Although KeepTruckin strives to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any professional, legal, business, and financial or tax-related decisions.