We depend on millions of commercial vehicles — from semi-trailers to school buses — to transport people and goods every day. And every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducts about 4 million inspections across North America to ensure they are operating safely.
Vehicles that are deemed unsafe or inoperable during these inspections (a number as high as 21%) are taken out of service, each costing carriers an average of nearly $900, according to the CVSA — not including fines or the cost of repairs.
Regular driver vehicle inspection reports can help commercial carriers stay in compliance, protect their drivers (and the general public), and keep their vehicles on the road.
A driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) is a formal confirmation that a commercial vehicle inspection has been completed by the driver. These inspections, which are required by law in the United States and Canada, are conducted at the beginning and end of the workday (called pre-trip and post-trip inspections).
During an inspection, the driver completes a circle check of the vehicle, walking around it to look for damage or defects, checking under the hood, and starting the vehicle to test the brakes, lights, etc.
A DVIR should cover the vehicle’s:
If repairs are needed, the carrier must certify that they have been completed before the vehicle can return to service. Then the driver must inspect and sign-off on the repairs before operating the vehicle.
Carriers must keep DVIRs for at least three months from the date they are submitted at the principal site where the vehicle is stored or maintained.
DVIRs are a critical part of any truck driver’s daily routine, designed to reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities that involve commercial vehicles. Ensuring that these vehicles are in good condition is essential to the safety of not only commercial drivers, but everyone else on the road alongside them.
For example, say the tires of an 18-wheeler go uninspected. A blowout could result in multiple deaths as the truck weaves or overturns, or debris hits other motorists.
Not completing a DVIR could also result in financial penalties for the carrier. If found to be noncompliant, a carrier could receive a fine from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and unsafe vehicles could be placed out of commission, creating unplanned downtime and a loss of revenue.
Finally, a driver or carrier’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score could be adversely affected, which can mean lost business for the carrier.
Historically, drivers have completed their vehicle inspections with paper forms and submitted the reports to the office, where they are stored in behemoth filing cabinets (at a cost of $20 each, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers).
Not only does it cost money to print and file these documents, but paper reports are easily damaged or misplaced, leaving the carrier vulnerable to fines for noncompliance.
Fortunately, today’s mobile technology makes it easy for drivers to complete and submit DVIRs using just the smartphone that’s already at their fingertips. Fleet supervisors and administrators can then access these reports instantly to ensure their drivers are following protocols to keep their vehicles in working order and their organization in compliance.
Mobile DVIRs can also help carriers streamline the repair process by triggering maintenance notifications and orders for parts to get out-of-commission vehicles back on the road faster. And with secure cloud storage, managers can provide proof of inspection and repairs in seconds.