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August 22, 2015

The Importance of a Pre-Trip Inspection

As a follow up to his interview on pre-trip planning, Randy Cornell, former driver and now the VP of Maintenance for Con-way Truckload, shares his knowledge regarding pre-trip inspections.


Why are pre-trip inspections so important?  

The number one goal of any of our drivers should be safety. The pre-trip inspection is a vital role in meeting this goal. The inspection is in place to find, and have repaired, any defects that may be found before heading over the road.


How long should a pre-trip inspection take?

Generally, if no problems are discovered, the inspection takes between 15-30 minutes. If a problem is found, the time of the inspection will depend on what the repair entails.


What if a driver finds an issue in need of repairing?  

Drivers are welcome to make minor repairs. If the driver does make the repair themselves, this time will need to be documented as ‘On-Duty Not-Driving’ time. For more serious repairs a driver may not have the tools required to adequately correct the issue and, in those instances, the driver should contact their local Road Service office. However, if the issue is not a Department of Transportation (DOT) out-of-service violation, they can direct you to the nearest shop location.


What issues are most often overlooked during pre-trip inspections? 

The top three overlooked issues in most inspections are brake adjustment, air pressure in tires and lights.


What are the consequences for not conducting a pre-trip inspection? Any Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) implications?

The most significant consequence is a potential accident due to faulty equipment. Also, if the issue is caught by a DOT officer and a violation handed down, the CSA score of the driver and the carrier are affected. In some cases, the DOT officer may issue a monetary violation.


Do you have any tips or tricks for making a pre-trip inspection easier for drivers?

The best “trick” for a proper pre-trip inspection is to take your time. Start at one point on the truck or trailer and work your way completely around the truck. Carry a flashlight with you as you do the inspection so you can see in dark places – even in broad daylight it can be difficult to see inside brake drums and low lighting areas. It’s also a good idea to carry a tire pressure gauge so you can easily check the tires as you check the other equipment.


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