Editior's note: This post was completed revamped and updated in March 2019 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that every commercial motor vehicle is inspected daily at the start and end of a driver's shift. This inspection is known as the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). To complete a DVIR, you should know the DOT's inspection requirements and use a DVIR checklist. It's also helpful to track your findings with software.
Meeting government regulations is one of the most important aspects of fleet management. Not only does it assist in keeping drivers safe and vehicles operational, but it also helps avoid costly fines.
Use these tips to follow best practices for completing a driver vehicle inspection report and ensure DOT compliance.
Know the DOT Inspection Requirements
It may seem obvious that the best way to follow DOT regulations is to simply know the rules. Federal Law 49 CFR 369.11 outlines the requirements of a DVIR and is enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Of course, few people have the patience to read through a legal document.
To save you some time, the driver vehicle inspection report is a summary of a safety inspection that must be completed at the end of the work day. This end of day inspection is known as a DOT post-trip inspection. The DVIR must list any defective items you discovered while inspecting your vehicle that would result in unsafe operation.
Of course, any deficient items listed on the DVIR must be corrected in order to prevent a vehicle incident. Companies must certify on the DVIR when repairs are completed or justify if they are unnecessary.
Before operating a commercial motor vehicle, you must be satisfied that the vehicle is in safe operating condition by conducting a DOT pre trip-inspection. This involves reviewing the defective items listed in the most recent DVIR for the vehicle and signing the DVIR. By signing the DVIR, you acknowledge that your company has completed corrective actions to repair the known defects.
It should be noted that the DVIR is separate from more thorough periodic vehicle inspections, which must occur at least once every 12 months.
Knowing the regulations makes it easier to remember what is expected of you when completing a days work. Of course, you'll also need to know what parts of the vehicle to inspect when completing a DVIR.
Have a Post-Trip Inspection Checklist
The DOT's regulations list out which parts and accessories of a commercial vehicle need to be inspected. This includes items such as the parking brake, lights, wheels, tire air pressure, mirrors, and more. The post-trip inspection should review these items and list any defects found in order to complete the DVIR.
With so many parts to keep track of, it can be easy to accidentally skip parts of the inspection. It's best to avoid this issue by copying the FMCSA regulations into a driver inspection checklist. Using a post-trip checklist ensures DOT compliance by giving drivers an easy reference for what parts of the vehicle to inspect.
To simply things, your post-trip driver inspection checklist should list general areas of the vehicle to examine. You do not need to list the specific parts you inspected on the DVIR. Only specific defects that result in a safety hazard need to be reported.
You'll have little trouble making sure your vehicles are in safe condition with a DOT post-trip inspection checklist. The only remaining issue will be keeping track that DVIRs are actually being completed.
Use Inspection Software to Track DVIR
The DVIR is sometimes referred to as the daily vehicle inspection report because it must be completed at the end of each workday. Since a DVIR must be completed for each vehicle, it won't be long before you're overwhelmed by the sheer number of inspection reports.
Additionally, the DOT requires you to keep your driver vehicle inspection reports for 3 months after the report was prepared. Certification of repairs to defective items must be kept for this time period as well.
The best way to prevent all these records from being lost or damaged is to use inspection software. With inspection software, each DVIR will be stored in an online database for safe keeping. It will also allow you to confirm inspection reports are being completed as needed.
According to the FMCSA, organizations may use any type of DVIR as long as it contains the information and signatures required. Therefore, we recommend you use an field inspection mobile app in addition to inspection software. This way you'll take advantage of the numerous ways mobile apps help with EHS inspections.
Luckily, IndustrySafe offers a safety management software suite that includes inspection tracking and an inspections mobile app. You can upload any inspection checklist into the software, as well as photos of findings. It also offers corrective action tracking for any deficient items found on the DVIR.
The driver vehicle inspection report is part of a regular process that may feel like its taking up too much of your day. This is especially true if you are using paper and pencil to record them.
There are better tools available to help and ensure that any findings are reported. For more information on how IndustrySafe can assist in completing driver vehicle inspection reports, sign up for a free demo account!