Pre & Post Trip Inspections
April 25, 2016
Author: Sarah Eiben, Account Administrator and Service Supervisor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires pre and post trip inspections for all commercial vehicles, but as of last December the requirement for drivers to keep no-defect reports (DVIRs) is no longer enforced by the FMCSA for any non-passenger carrying vehicles. However, it is still a requirement for over 50% of fleets by their company directly. Many companies feel that collecting these becomes part of a “best practice” for their operations because it provides more safety-conscious drivers. There are many advantages to performing a pre and post trip inspection. These inspections can identify vehicle defects for the safety of both the driver and the general public. These inspections can also save a company money on roadside repairs, towing, downtime, and fines by identifying the problem in the pre-trip inspection and having it corrected before the vehicle moves. These will ultimately prevent accidents or even loss of life and property.
An inspection typically covers at least the following parts and accessories: brakes including trailer brake connections, parking brakes, steering mechanisms, tires, horn, lighting devices and reflectors, windshield wipers, wheels and rims, rear vision mirrors, coupling devices, and emergency equipment. The report typically contains any defects or lack thereof by the driver that would affect the safety of the operation of the motor vehicle or trailer.
To make things more efficient, these types of fleets lean on electronic inspection devices. These devices virtually eliminate errors, require the driver to do them by building the inspections into their workday, and then are submitted electronically. These devices also eliminate the chance of a driver forging or making up the report in order to save themselves time and effort. It uses electronic radio frequency tags on the vehicle; allowing the driver to know exactly what zone that he/she is expected to stand in when doing the vehicle check. This helps to audit the driver’s walk around performance while doing the pre and post trip inspections. The device requires the driver check that everything is completed and verified on the screen for each tag before it will allow them to move onto the next point. A built in camera also provides extra support to photograph areas of the vehicle or any defects that he/she finds. If there is a defect found while doing an inspection, the device will note this and create a work order for the shop to have this corrected.
When a defect is noted via the electronic inspection, the truck is flagged. After the repairs are made it must be signed off by a technician. When the driver logs into the system again, it will notify him/her that the repair is complete and he/she can sign off on it as well. The device also allows for repairs on the road, as many drivers make long haul trips and may not be able to get back to their company workshop. The device would flag the defect and if the driver can perform the repair on their own, he/she can sign off electronically as proof of the correction. If it is a more serious repair, this would have to be done by a nearby shop to be later signed off on after repairs are completed.
Conducting proper pre and post trip inspections will ultimately save time and money for not only the company, but the driver as well. When performed properly, the advantages outweigh the time and effort put in to perform these, especially with the efficiency that the new electronic inspection systems can provide.
|Sarah Eiben is an Account Administrator and Service Supervisor at Cottingham & Butler. She has been in the insurance industry since 2011 working with Transportation clients across the United States. She currently holds her AAI (Accredited Adviser in Insurance) designation and is one class away from her CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) designation. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter and is expecting twins in August.|
- Transportation Topics Equipment & Maintenance Update “Electronics Aid Pre-Trip Inspections; https://www.nawt.org/documents/Joseph_Zito-Pre-TripInspections.pdf