Driver Insights

DVIR Regulation Q&A

The FMCSA has set out clear regulation for DVIR - Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports.  Fleets are now looking to electronic DVIR for efficiencies.  Here are some questions and answers to help you ensure your fleet is compliant.  

The regulations text of the section can be found on the eCFR website. To view the regulation, use the link below. 
View regulations for Part 396

DOT Compliance Tips: Load (Cargo) Securing

Commercial motor vehicles deliver billions of dollars of freight to United States destinations every year. Many of these loads include heavy items such as vehicles, containers, lumber, and concrete pipes. Transportation companies are responsible for ensuring that these goods are safely positioned and secured on commercial vehicles. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has established guidelines and rules to help ensure that loads are properly secured in order to prevent loads from shifting or accidentally dumped during the shipping process. Below are six DOT load securing compliance tips for companies in the transportation and construction industries.

DOT Compliance Tips: Driver Training and Qualification

If you own or manage a fleet of commercial vehicles, you know that DOT Compliance is an integral part of your job. You also know that employing the best drivers is paramount to maintaining your reputation, ensuring standards, and delivering the best to your customers and clients. It's important to integrate Department of Transportation guidelines with your hiring and employment process, so that you're not only finding the most qualified drivers for the job—but also satisfying federal and state regulations.

Breaking down DOT and FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regulations can be complex, which is why we've compiled some tips on driver training and qualification. From Hazmat training to drug and alcohol testing to complicated Endorsements for your CDL drivers, here's a quick breakdown:

DOT Compliance Tips: Drug and Alcohol Testing for Drivers

If you manage, or own a fleet, of commercial vehicles, we don't need to tell you that DOT Compliance can be a complex aspect of your job. Especially when it comes to making sure your drivers are compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCSA) rules, it's important to break down each regulation carefully.

And the FMCSA's Drug & Alcohol Testing Program is no exception. It's in place to make sure that the drivers on America's roadways are safe and sober, so it's a key element of DOT Compliance. Our goal is to help you sift through some of the complexities of Drug & Alcohol Testing, so you and your team can take to the road with confidence.

Simplifying Your Daily DVIR Process is already at your Fingertips

It’s a daily grind familiar to every fleet manager: get up early, fight traffic, get to the office, and begin fighting with your drivers about driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIR). You hound them to do the inspections, to fully and accurately fill out the form, to tell you about any mechanical issues with your fleet, and to do more than just a cursory checkbox-based inspection.

You listen to whining about the hassle of inspections, the fact that they take up too much time, the frustration of endless paperwork. And then you add each day’s form to the avalanche of papers accumulating in your office, and hope for the best. You can simplify the DVIR process. And in so doing, you can get your time back and enjoy your job again.

Conduct Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Reports from your Phone with eDVIR

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Driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIR) are already an integral part of managing your fleet. So, when it comes to how best to coordinate this critical task, the question isn’t so much whether DVIR is worth the effort — it absolutely is — but how best to go about satisfying this requirement and maintaining the protection it affords you and your business.

Electronic DVIR gives you the chance to revolutionize your approach to filing detailed reports, even presenting you with the capability to conduct pre-trip inspections on your phone. It’s a whole new day for DVIR. So let’s delve into how this latest tool works and how it can facilitate your business.

A MODERN SOLUTION

In the old days, DVIR would present you with a record of your vehicle’s condition, one which could serve as evidence to both the vehicle’s condition if an accident should occur and which ensures that the likelihood of any such incident would be minimized. After all, vehicle collisions are among the most common causes of death.

Thankfully, eDVIR plays the same essential role in your fleet management, albeit with a streamlined methodology that emphasizes ease of use and accuracy above all else. Drivers still need to complete and submit forms before and after each trip, but electronic reports allow for a level of customization and access that just isn’t possible by traditional means.

What once proved to be a burden actually creates a smoother environment for all. While drivers will find these electronic forms so much more accessible, you’ll be able to shed the worry about when you’ll receive the latest inspection reports and how to proceed. eDVIR uses a cloud-based system, meaning you’ll be able to evaluate reports instantly and leap into action to address any outstanding concerns.

In general, this new system facilitates the your ability to keep your fleet running strong and eliminates the need for copious paperwork. Less work and a more streamlined process make less work for everyone involved and boost your fleet’s capacity to handle each project in a timely manner.

THE FULL ADVANTAGE

You’ve already assembled a winning team, but the way you do business very likely could use a tune-up. So let’s break down some of the key benefits that eDVIR offers. First, we’ve alluded to the time savings already, but seeing as time is one of the most limited resources you need, this aspect of eDVIR stands above all others.

Since you can build and customize your own forms, inspection reports can be completed in a fraction of the time they once were and, thanks to the mobile capability, they can be completed from anywhere at anytime via a smartphone or other mobile device. Simply log in to the system, complete the form and submit it, and it is automatically saved in the system and added to the unlimited storage of your archives.

This ability to have the latest information right at your fingertips makes it that much easier to schedule necessary maintenance and repairs, keeping you one step ahead of your competitors. Moreover, the simplified forms reduce the chance that human error will interfere with your operation. After all, you never know when you’ll need to submit your full reports for audit.

You’ll already have them ready in waiting in your digital storage space, but now you’ll be far more confident in how well they’ll reflect the activities of your fleet. Once you give eDVIR a try, we know you’ll see the difference instantly and probably wonder why you spent so long wasting time on its paper-based counterpart.

CHECKING IT TWICE

Though the system is vastly modernized, eDVIR still functions like the DVIR you’re used to. You’ll still need to run through a checklist of inspection points just like you’re filling out a paper form. You’ll simply be doing so from the convenience of your mobile device. Here are the most important elements you’ll need to review before starting a new trip:

  • Brakes: Your vehicle has many critical parts that must be working properly to ensure the safety of your drivers and others on the road. Needless to say, your brakes are among the most important. Of course, don’t forget your service and parking brakes.

  • Steering and horn: Your driver’s ability to accurately pilot the vehicle without incident depends on the soundness of the steering mechanism. But don’t forget to verify that your horn is working as it should. If something does go wrong, this is the best way to let others know.

  • Tires and wheels: When you’re on the road as much as your fleet is, your tires certainly take the bulk of the damage. If they don’t have sufficient tread on them, you could be heading for disaster. So be mindful of the condition of your tires and wheels before you hit the road, including whether your tires simply need a bit of air first.

  • Lights and reflectors: Like your tires, your lights reflect the natural wear and tear that occurs when you’re always on the road. Check that they are all working properly and all that reflectors are attached. You’d be surprised how often such a simple item can make a life-changing difference.

  • Windshield wipers and mirrors: Especially when you’re driving a large commercial vehicle, your mirrors are your greatest hope to orient yourself with the other cars on the road. Likewise, your windshield wipers defend against the changing conditions you may encounter and require frequent replacement.

  • Emergency kit: If you do find yourself in a dire situation, an emergency kit filled with maintenance repair items and other must-haves can really come in handy. You never know what might happen out there. So your best bet is to be ready for a crisis if one does occur.

A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE

We can’t imagine you’re still doubting how eDVIR can enhance your fleet management skills, but if you do need more information about how it compares to traditional DVIR, you might want to check out our handy infographic. The benefits of taking your inspection reports into the modern world are already apparent, and the technology is quickly on its way to becoming the standard-bearer throughout the industry.

Don’t let your competition get an edge on you, especially when eDVIR can maximize your productivity and efficiency in such a significant way. To get started for free, visit our website and sign up for a demo of Whip Around today.

The Detailed DVIR Checklist

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From time to time, the rigors of fleet management can become too much. With all the work that goes into maintaining each vehicle and supervising each driver, you may have caught yourself subconsciously searching for some way to streamline the processes involved in your day-to-day operation.

Although the industry is making remarkable strides across the board to change with the times, one area that is making particular progress is the driver’s vehicle inspection report (DVIR). Traditionally, these critical documents were simply put on paper, an approach that was functional once upon a time but has slipped into obsolescence with the advent of technology. Now fleet managers like you can take advantage of a fully electronic version of DVIR, better known as eDVIR.

That being said, it’s still essential that your fleet’s DVIR — no matter which format you use in your business — includes all of the key components that you need to effectively document your driver's’ activity and the condition of your vehicles. That’s why we’re providing you with a one-stop checklist that you can reference to create, complete and submit high-quality DVIR every single time.

Failing to keep these on record could create a disastrous scenario for your business, and as the applicable requirements are subject to change, you need to ensure that you remain compliant at all times and that your files are up-to-date. So let’s delve into precisely what you should be checking for in each DVIR as well as the tools necessary to create the best reports possible.

WHAT YOU NEED TO INCLUDE


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With as much driving as your team does, wear and tear of your vehicles is a real concern. Just take a moment to consider all the miles each vehicle in your fleet racks up over the course of each day or week. So much constant motion and dealing with variable road conditions certainly takes its toll.

However, if you’re going to build a checklist designed to minimize risk, you have to know what to look for so that you can take action before problems arise. After all, an in-depth inspection can make all the difference and even prevent tragedy if it is performed correctly.

To that end, let’s break down some of the most essential parts of your vehicle your drivers should be sure to check when completing each day’s DVIR.

If any of the below are faulty or broken, the safety of your vehicle might be compromised, resulting in a potentially hazardous journey on the road.

  • Brakes: Depending on the kind of vehicle being inspected, you might need to keep a close eye on trailer brake connections, but at the very least, be sure to double-check your service and parking brakes. For obvious reasons, any kind of malfunction here could have catastrophic consequences. So your brakes should always be among the first items on any DVIR checklist.

  • Steering and horn: No matter what steering mechanism your vehicle uses, the consistent usage of any vehicle in your fleet could adversely affect it. As with brakes, steering is a no-brainer addition to your inspection checklist, but even so, it’s easy to overlook such an obvious element. A driver’s ability to steer the vehicle is tantamount to his or her ability to act at a moment’s notice. Before hitting the road, ensure that everything is as it should be. Yes, including your car horn.

  • Tires and wheels: We haven’t conducted a scientific study about which part of a vehicle drivers tend to most overlook, but if we did, we wouldn’t be surprised if tires topped the list. From simply failing to ensure that your tires have enough air to not replacing them in a timely manner, tire maintenance is all too often not taken into account. So be sure that your vehicle’s tires are adequately filled and not too worn. Moreover, your wheels and rims should be inspected and secure as well.

  • Lights and reflectors: Headlights, taillights and brake lights are all key elements of safe driving, and of course, you need to account for each of these before you hit the road, especially in a commercial vehicle. But you’ll also want to verify that all reflectors are secure and in working order, especially since your drivers never know what kind of conditions they’ll be traveling in. Proper lighting is your first line of defense against the rain, snow or other stormy weather you might encounter.

  • Windshield wipers and mirrors: Much like your vehicle’s lights, switching out the windshield wipers regularly and checking for damage to both the rear-view and side-view mirrors helps to boost visibility and increase safety for everyone on the road. Anything you can do to optimize performance of your vehicle and prepare it for any situation is a tremendous help regardless of what you’re driving. For large commercial vehicles, it’s even more vital.

  • Emergency kit: Although the bulk of your inspection centers on the condition of the vehicle in question, it also extends to being sure that you are carrying emergency items at all times. They might be maintenance and repair items like a tire gauge, jumper cables and a fire extinguisher or something simpler like a first-aid kit. The important part is that all your vehicles have what they need to take action if a crisis occurs.

Once you’ve verified all of the above are covered, note the make and model of the vehicle and any action items you need to take to ensure that all requirements are met. Priority should be given to any issues that threaten the safety of the vehicle, as they need to be addressed before driving continues. Then make note that these updates have been made. And, of course, don’t forget to sign the report at the end!

CREATING YOUR PROCESS

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By its very definition, DVIR necessitates daily repetition and, as such, is best implemented as part of a routine. For instance, inspections should be performed both at the beginning of each trip and after its completion, as mandated by regulations. Such an approach provides optimal coverage, since the operational safety of a vehicle can be affected throughout the course of a single journey.

Both the pre-trip and post-trip reports need to be signed before submission and should remain on file for at least three month. In addition, DVIR should also account for mid-route equipment or trailer changes. To clarify the pre-trip and post-trip inspections further, we’ll look into what is involved in both types of inspections.

  • Pre-Trip: Oftentimes, the pre-trip side of your inspection is pretty straightforward. The end goal, of course, remains complete satisfaction that the vehicle you’re about to drive is in safe operating condition. Typically, the first step is to review the previous day’s DVIR. If there are any action items that have yet to be completed, these must be resolved before the next trip begins. This level of redundancy creates a system of checks and balances that prevents a driver from operating a vehicle with potentially deadly defects. Once this has been verified, the driver must review and sign off.

  • Post-Trip: The post-trip end of DVIR is where the real work usually happens. At the end of each day, the driver must file a detailed written DVIR listing any condition he or she discovered that might compromise the safety or integrity of the vehicle. If they require immediate attention, these must be dealt with and certifications issued for each repair. Conversely, the driver must confirm in the report if any defects found do not need to be addressed urgently or if no such defects were found at all. Naturally, such a review of any outstanding damages will be conducted again before the vehicle is sent out (see above).

WHY YOU NEED DVIR

Sure, all these inspection points and processes sound like a major headache. But rest assured, it all has a very important part to play in keeping your business running smoothly and as safely as possible. In fact, even though DVIR is mandatory for your business, the entire process does offer a ton of benefits for your business. Here are just a few to consider.

  • Stay updated on maintenance: Small tasks like checking oil levels and changing lights might not take a lot of time out of your drivers’ day, but they do ensure that your vehicles are properly maintained, thus extending the number of years they’ll remain in peak condition.

  • Reduced chance of tickets: Because your drivers remain on top of those small maintenance tasks, their vehicles are far less likely to get dinged by the authorities for simply having a tail light out or failing to have a working turn signal. Once you take a moment to consider the extent of DVIR, you’ll be amazed at how it affects every element of your business.

  • Fewer accidents: Safety is the ultimate goal of DVIR. So it’s no surprise that thorough inspection that rules out many of the causes of traffic accidents will have a direct effect on the number of on-road issues your fleet will face over the big picture.

  • Cheaper insurance: This one comes in tandem with the previous entry, but it’s undeniable that minimizing the number of accidents your vehicles are involved in will help to keep insurance costs down. All just because you kept a close eye on your vehicles and maintained a DVIR backlog.

  • Decreased need for repairs: Even if your drivers are on top of their inspections, you’ll still need to spring for repairs every now and then. But keeping DVIR a key part of your business will reduce the amount of immediate, short-term repairs you’ll have to deal with. Parts can be ordered ahead of time, and you can schedule repairs without having to worry about keeping your drivers on the road. This not only saves you the time of having to wait for availability — potentially putting a vehicle out of commission for a while —  but also helps to keep your repair costs down in the long term. In both cases, consider DVIR a definite win.

  • Boost morale: When your drivers are seen handling a pristine-looking and smooth-operating vehicle, that can only draw positive attention from customers, helping to increase sales and giving you a competitive edge. Likewise, your drivers will feel an enhanced sense of pride in their work and hold you in higher esteem for being so invested in the quality of their work and the condition of their vehicles.

  • Increased productivity: When you and your drivers aren’t bogged down by all of the above concerns, you’ll find that you’ll be able to stay more focused on the job at hand. That means less downtime for your drivers, who can continue their work without the headache, and the ability for you and your entire team to focus on how to improve your business, from customer service to the day-to-day back-end processes that govern it all.

INSPECT THE UNEXPECTED

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Sometimes, you may fall into the false belief that DVIR has little direct purpose in your business, short of meeting an industry-wide regulatory need. However, as tedious as the steps above may seem, don’t lose sight of the integral role that these reports play in keeping your team functioning at its absolute best.

When your business is as potentially fraught with chaos, accountability and shrewd record-keeping are a necessity to both maintain a high level of quality service and protect the long-term prospects of your fleet. The extreme detail included in each DVIR is intended to prevent the opportunity for something to go wrong and for your driver (and your reputation, by extension) to be found culpable for any incident that occurs.

While we naturally advocate for the adoption of eDVIR, the necessity for DVIR of any type has never been stronger. These reports will be the one element that stands between your business and a potential lawsuit, and you need to place them as a priority if you haven’t yet fully adopted them into your daily operation. 

Your team looks to you to set the tone for how best to conduct themselves and what processes they need to follow to complete their jobs effectively. This needs to include DVIR. With the checklist we’ve provided above, you have precious few excuses for not implementing or improving upon a DVIR protocol for your business.

Just imagine the difference that such an initiative would make throughout your business, and with any luck, you’ll realize that the rewards that lie ahead far outweigh the short-sighted inconveniences that DVIR may bring.

[Infographic] Paper-Based DVIR vs eDVIR

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Let’s break down the differences between a paper-based DVIR process and an eDVIR (electronic DVIR) process and show you the advantages that technology has to offer.

CONDUCTING THE VEHICLE INSPECTION


PAPER-BASED DVIR PROCESS

To begin, the driver uses pen and paper to fill out their name, time, date, carrier name, and location. Once ready, they use their checklist to inspect each area of the vehicle. Paper-based reports provide the vehicle checklist in alphabetical order which can take the driver back and forth around the vehicle, which can be time consuming and inefficient.

EDVIR PROCESS

To begin, the driver opens the eDVIR mobile app and selects the appropriate inspection form. The app provides a detailed checklist custom formatted in the order of one fluid walk-through around the vehicle so it is already optimized for the driver's inspection.

REPORTING THE FAULTS


PAPER-BASED DVIR PROCESS

When a driver conducts a paper-based DVIR and finds no faults, the DVIR is marked as complete and the document is then filed for up to 3 months. If there is a defect, they must notify a mechanic and he comes to review the DVIR, fix the defect and document what he did to fix it. The mechanic signs off with date and time on the same paper report and submits it to the carrier.

EDVIR PROCESS

During the eDVIR process, the driver inspects the vehicle with the mobile app and can take photos, voice record faults, and digitally sign and submit the report on the app, which automatically creates a date and time stamp for the report.

The mechanic is alerted in real-time electronically about any faults found and noted on the report. Once the mechanic has repaired the vehicle he marks the previously found faults as completed on the app.

SECOND DRIVER INSPECTION


PAPER-BASED DVIR PROCESS

The next driver will review the DVIR and make sure the mechanic has fixed any noted faults. They will sign and date that same paper document and deliver it to the carrier where it will be kept on file for a minimum of 3 months.

DOT (Department of Transportation) can randomly conduct an audit on inspection reports based on the last 3 months of operations. DOT selects a vehicle from the fleet and the carrier is required to provide the DVIR. If the carrier can’t provide the report, they can be fined thousands of dollars.

EDVIR PROCESS

During the eDVIR process, the second driver inspection is even easier. The next driver uses the same inspection report via the mobile app. They will make sure all faults have been updated and then signs off on the previous vehicle inspection report electronically. Just like before, all dates and time stamps are recorded automatically and the vehicle inspection report is saved in the cloud for the carrier, making it available upon demand for a DOT audit with a quick search in the dashboard.


ASTOUNDING EDVIR STATISTICS

We bet you didn’t know that by switching from a paper-based DVIR process to a eDVIR process that you can significantly improve your daily operations, saving you both time and money. Here are a few ways this can happen:

  • Save thousands with reduced downtime by keeping your vehicles on the road. Downtime can cost up to $1K / day.

  • Reduce the time it takes to complete a daily vehicle inspection report, by 80%. And increase the efficiency and accuracy at the same time!

  • Save time pulling reports. Preparing for a DOT audit can take up to 2 days traditionally where as you can just search for the report electronically in a few seconds within the web app dashboard.


PROFOUND EDVIR ADVANTAGES

Saving 80% of the time it used to take you and your fleet to conduct driver vehicle inspection reports seems like a no brainer! Let’s take a look at the additional advantages that you will find with eDVIR:

  • Eliminate the cost of paper-based booklets

  • Never lose a report again for when a DOT audit occurs

  • Eliminate the cost of pens and paper

  • Do inspection reports from the field anytime with Mobile App Access

  • Save reports to your online account with Virtual Unlimited Storage

  • Quickly pull reports when DOT (Department of Transportation) requests them (can take up to 2 days traditionally) with a few clicks vs sorting through paperwork

  • Reduce risk of DOT fees and stay compliant

  • Customizable inspection forms for more efficient inspections

  • 24/7 customer support for any digital reporting issues

  • Paperless analytics and reporting

  • Real-time alerts

  • Manage and review inspections more easily

  • Stay on top of unplanned maintenance

  • Analytics advantages:

    • Review common defects across fleets

    • Review common defects across vehicle type or brand

    • Find which drivers are and are not doing their DVIR

    • Review outstanding defects on vehicles

    • Make better vehicle buying decisions by reviewing total cost of defects across fleet and vehicles

    • See which tires are lasting longer, ie: Bridgestone vs Michelin


HOW TO GET STARTED USING EDVIR

We’re sure you don’t need any further convincing that eDVIR is the way of the future, but just to seal the deal let’s show you how easy it is to get setup with eDVIR using the Whip Around app. Here are the setup steps:

  1. Register your account at Whip Around

  2. Login to web app dashboard

  3. Add your vehicles

  4. Add your drivers

  5. Setup and customize your inspection report

  6. Login to mobile app

    1. Apple Store - IOS App

    2. Google Play - Android App

  7. Start vehicle inspection reports (DVIR)

What are you looking for during a Daily Vehicle Inspection

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A driver-vehicle inspection report -- known better as a pre-trip inspection -- is designed to ensure a vehicle is in good working order and safe to take out on the road. Federal law requires a daily inspection, as well as a report to document the inspection, but does not require drivers to use any specific form. So what exactly are you looking for during a pre-trip inspection? These vital safety inspections have several key components.

CHECK THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT

The engine compartment check includes an inspection with the vehicle turned off. Drivers should look for any and all problems with the engine, its parts, or the area under the hood.

The law requires them to inspect:

  • belt driven alternator

  • belt driven water pump

  • brake chamber

  • brake drum

  • brake lining

  • brake hose

  • coolant reservoir

  • caste nuts

  • cotter pins

  • gear box

  • hoses

  • drag link

  • leaf springs

  • lug nuts

  • any leaks

  • oil level

  • pitman arm

  • rim

  • shock absorber

  • push rod

  • slack adjuster

  • steering column

  • spring hanger

  • steer tire

  • u-bolts

  • tie rod

CAB CHECK AND ENGINE START

With the engine running, drivers must check the cab while monitoring for any problems while the engine is running. One often-overlooked area is the cleanliness of the cab itself. An unclean cab presents a serious hazard because any loose items can become projectiles in the event of a crash or sudden stop.

Other things drivers are required to check include:

  • seat belt, including whether it buckles securely and whether there are any signs of fraying

  • airbrakes

  • air pressure gauges

  • heater

  • defroster

  • emergency equipment, including opening and inspecting the emergency box, not just checking to ensure it is present

  • horns

  • lighting indicators

  • oil pressure gauge

  • voltmeter

  • water temperature gauge

  • windshield washers and wipers

  • mirrors

  • windshield

Any unusual sounds with the engine, odors associated with starting the vehicle, rattling sounds, or other signs of mechanical trouble must be noted on the inspection form.

BRAKE CHECK

Large vehicles are more dependent on their brakes than small cars, because these vehicles must be able to quickly and safely stop. A brake check is critical for safety, since even minor brake issues can become life-threatening.

Be sure to check:

  • the airbrake

  • the parking brake

  • the service brake

Much of the brake check is part of the external cab check, and the brakes should not be considered safe until the external cab check fully inspects them.

EXTERNAL CAB

The external cab check reveals much about how the vehicle is operating. Check for obvious broken parts, or signs that there might be internal wear and tear -- things like rusting wheel rims or dents in the hood.

Important components of the external cab check include:

  • checking the suspension, including springs, mounts, and shock absorbers

  • external brake components, including slack adjusters, brake hoses, brake lines, brake chambers, drum brake or rotor, and brake linings

  • wheels, including rims, lug nuts, tires, spacers, axles, and axle seals

  • the side of the car, including battery box and exhaust system, drive shaft, frame, fuel tank, doors, and mirrors

  • doors, ties, lifts, and splash guards at the rear of the vehicle

  • tractor and coupling components, including catwalk, mounting bolts, locking jaws, electric and air lines, locking pins, platform, release arm, and kingpin, apron, and gap

TRAILER

Problems with the trailer can be extremely dangerous. Not only do they pose a threat to the driver and other motorists. Trailer issues can also endanger the load a driver is hauling, costing time and money.

Be sure to check:

  • lifts, doors, and ties

  • landing gear

  • frame

  • locking pins and tandem release arm

CUSTOM CHECKLISTS: WHY THE BARE MINIMUM LEGAL REQUIREMENTS AREN’T ENOUGH

You know you have to complete DVIR checklists before your vehicles can legally go on the road. But the push to comply with the law can distract from a more fundamental goal: the need to keep drivers safe, to protect motorists, and to keep your vehicle's operating soundly for as long as possible.

So don’t focus solely on meeting the minimum threshold. Consider how custom checklists can promote better safety and a healthier work environment. For example, simply blocking the wheels during an inspection with the engine running can prevent catastrophes. By adding this item to your checklist, you increase the likelihood that drivers will actually do it.

Likewise, providing specific instructions-- “kick the wheels; note any rust”-- you increase driver compliance well above that which you could expect with a simple list of items to inspect. You need custom checklists that drivers can understand and follow quickly and efficiently. That’s precisely what Whip Around offers.

OTHER INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS

It’s not enough to simply check off a few boxes and put a vehicle on the road. Indeed, the law specifically forbids such cursory checks. A pre-trip inspection requires the driver to completely check each component of the vehicle, note any problems on the form, and then submit the form. From there, any defects must be repaired before the vehicle can be taken back on the road.

Failure to repair defects can cost a company dearly. If there is an incident with the car, then your failure to repair defects could give rise to lawsuits, fines, and bad publicity. Additionally, investigators may request copies of DVIRs from immediately before any incidents. If these forms indicate cursory checks or are not available, your company could be in trouble.

WHY GOING DIGITAL IS THE SOLUTION

Whip Around allows companies to build custom DVIR forms that are elegant, simple, and easy to follow for drivers and managers alike. Our digital approach makes inspections easy, allows you to assign repairs to mechanics, and assists you to track repairs so you can plan schedules and deliveries.

Better still, we end the pile of paper that may have taken over your office. By going digital, you’ll gain access to searchable forms that reveal important information about your vehicle's’ history. If you need a form, it’s readily available -- no more stress, no more fines, and no more paper.

Whip Around is easy for drivers, effective for managers, and a game changer for owners. It’s a win for everyone.

5 Often-Overlooked Items During a Pre-Trip Inspection

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Pre-trip inspections are more than just cursory searches for mechanical defects. They’re required by law, and failing to do them can cost your company dearly. Perhaps equally important, these inspections can save lives, help your vehicles last longer, and ultimately help you make more money -- and keep more of what you earn rather than paying fines or lawsuits.

The problem, of course, is that it’s easy for pre-trip inspections to become just one more thing you do by mindlessly. Rather than inspecting the vehicle to ensure it’s truly safe to operate, drivers or inspectors may just run through a list, quickly checking boxes without really paying attention to potential problems.

That’s a choice that puts everyone on the road in danger. So it’s time to refocus on your pre-trip inspections, and ensure they truly protect your drivers, your vehicles, and the public.

Don’t forget about these 5 often-overlooked issues during a pre-trip inspection.

SAFETY IN THE CAB

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Safety begins in the cab of the truck. Many drivers spend long days on the road, and the truck cab becomes part home, part hotel, part garbage heap. That results in a cab chock full of old food, magazines, garbage, clothes, and an embarrassing cornucopia of other sundry items. These items are more than just an eyesore.  They’re also a safety issue.

Consider how a driver fumbling for his wallet might knock a ton of other items loose, or take his eyes off of the road. Or how a driver who’s allowed too many bags of Cheetos to accumulate in her cab might accidentally knock trash under the brakes.

If there is an accident, trash in the cab can fly into the driver and injure them. It can crack windshields. If the windows are down, it can even fly out of the cab. A driver going 55 mph or more turns those small items into dangerous projectiles.

Don’t forget that cleanliness counts when it comes to driving. Check the cab for hidden hazards, and enact strategies to help drivers keep the cab safely clean.

Some other safety issues to check in the cab include:

  • Seatbelt safety. Seatbelts save lives. It’s a cliché because it’s true. So check for signs of dangerous wear and tear, including frayed edges and belts that don’t properly retract. Buckle the seatbelt to ensure it buckles and releases properly. Then give it a sharp tug to ensure it will lock in the event of a crash.

  • Emergency kit. The law requires you to carry an emergency kit, and carrying one can save lives in the event of an emergency. Check for a fire extinguisher, warning hazard triangles, and spare circuit breakers and fuses. If other drivers drive the vehicle, ensure these are all in a central location, and organized in a manner that makes everything easy to find. Don’t just check for the presence of an emergency kit. Make sure everything is in it. And always check to ensure the fire extinguisher actually works.

  • Unusual wear and tear in the cab. Is anything cracked inside of the cab? How do the gears look? Damage to mechanical parts in the cab can point to a more serious problem, so make sure the inside of the cab points to a truck in excellent working order.

WHEEL INSPECTIONS

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It’s all about the wheels, as any driver who’s dealt with a flat tire or a damaged axle knows. So don’t just give the wheels a quick once-over. Wheel and tire inspections save lives. One item that may be overlooked is the need to inspect for items lodged between tires.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety alliance recently changed its policies to denote that a solid object lodged between tires is grounds for a violation. At least one driver recently died when a rock hidden here became dislodged and turned into a dangerous projectile. It doesn’t matter how small the stuck item is. If it goes flying at 55 or 70 mph, it can become deadly.

While it’s not legally required, going above and beyond with tire inspections is a great way to prevent damage to vehicles. Consider carefully checking underneath the truck for items that are lodged underneath the vehicle. These could get stuck in tires.

Some other items to pay careful attention to include:

  • Wheel lug nuts. Lug nuts are their own world, with myriad things that can go wrong. One common problem is a weak wheel fastener. This might seem trivial, but a wheel that becomes dislodged and goes barreling down the road is a crisis for the driver, for other motorists, and for your business. It’s so easy to prevent.

  • Rust. Rust around lug nuts may point to a problem with the bolt hole. Check for severely rusty areas around the wheels as well, since these areas can become weakened and misshapen with time.

And of course, don’t forget to chock the wheels at the beginning of the inspection. It seems obvious. It seems silly even to mention it. But when you do hundreds of inspections at year, it’s easy to forget these important basics. Your engine will be running, and the truck can move. Prevent a potential disaster by ensuring the vehicle is stabilized.

BRAKE CHECKS

Trucks depend on their brakes. Other drivers depend on these brakes not to fail. And let’s face it: when truckers are rushing to get from point A to point B, some test their brakes a lot more than they should. They drive to fast, follow too closely, or are too slow to stop.

So brake inspections should operate according to the assumption that the brakes need to work perfectly. Don’t assume that a driver will compensate for faulty brakes, or that OK brakes are good enough. Failed brakes kill. Drivers and operators intuitively know this, but many continue to gloss over brake checks. Don’t be one of them.

Brake violations are a leading cause of road accidents, a primary source of mechanical failures, and among the most common roadside inspection violations. Brake checks involve many steps, both inside and outside of the cab. Don’t neglect any step, since a simple inspection can reveal a potentially life-threatening brake issue.

LIGHTS AND REFLECTORS

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With so many lights on a truck, it’s common for one or more to burn out. The violation might seem like a small one, but it’s still a violation -- and an easily fixed one, at that. Check each light, and replace any that have burned out or broken. Remember that other drivers depend on these lights to see truckers coming, and that even a few missing lights can make the vehicle less visible.

Don’t forget about reflectors. A quick inspection of your reflectors can reveal easily remedied problems.

PLANNING FOR FUTURE MAINTENANCE

A pre-trip inspection shroud involve more than checking boxes to comply with the law. Ultimately, these inspections are about keeping everyone safe. They’re also a powerful opportunity for you to plan for potential hiccups down the road.

Is a vehicle approaching an oil change?

Might it need new tires in the next 5,000 miles?

Use your pre-trip inspections as a chance to monitor for vehicles that are still in good working order, but that might need maintenance in the next several months. This allows you to budget for necessary maintenance, change your trip schedule as necessary, and ensure the vehicle is assigned to a mechanic well before it passes the deadline for routine maintenance.

Having a system already in place for flagging vehicles that may need maintenance can save you time, hassle, and stress. Whip Around allows you to build your own inspection forms, then assign vehicle maintenance to the mechanic of your choice. Consider incorporating form details that allow drivers to flag that a vehicle may soon need maintenance. It’s a simple way to keep your schedule, and your sanity, intact.

HOW WHIP AROUND MAKES INSPECTIONS SAFER AND EASIER





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Let’s face it: pre-trip inspections take time. They also create their own set of problems, including:

  • The need to pull vehicles from the road to schedule them for routine maintenance.

  • Monitoring the progress of major repairs to damaged vehicles.

  • Keeping track of and storing inspection reports.

  • Ensuring drivers fully inspect each vehicle, rather than just ticking off a bunch of boxes.

  • Logging inspection-related data over time. Tracking inspection reports can help you detect problems with specific vehicles or families of vehicles. This can inform buying decisions, help you devise a better inspection timetable, and more.

These inspections are vital for road safety. They’re also critical for the success of your business. Inadequate or missing inspections may:

  • Subject you to costly fines and penalties.

  • Make you more vulnerable to lawsuits, particularly if the other side can show you didn’t do an inspection, or that you ignored the results of an inspection.

  • Delay vehicles from going back on the road. If you miss inspections, this can cause mechanical problems to get worse. That means more time off the road, and more costly repairs.

  • Endanger your drivers and other motorists.

  • Cause you to lose your best drivers, who may go to companies that are better at staying on top of vehicle safety and maintenance.

We understand that pre-trip inspections and DVIRs can be an immense burden. Here are our tips for lightening the load:

FOSTER A SAFETY-FIRST CULTURE

No form or program will fix a culture that prioritizes speed at the expense of safety. The key to effective inspections and safe drivers is a culture that truly prioritizes safety.

Some tips for building that culture include:

  • Not rushing drivers or encouraging them to cut corners.

  • Regular substantive safety training.

  • An open door policy that encourages drivers to express concerns and offer safety strategies.

  • Modeling the behavior you want to see. Emphasize safety in all that you do.

  • Making pre-trip inspections easy for drivers. Build intuitive forms written in plain language. Whip Around lets you do precisely that.

SWITCH TO DIGITAL DVIR REPORTS

Digital DVIR reports alleviate much of the burden posed by pre-trip inspections. The law don't require you to use any specific form, as long as you address all of the required basic components of an inspection. So build your own. This allows you to ensure your forms make sense, that they are intuitive, and that they force drivers to do a full inspection -- not a cursory walk-through.

Whip Around allows you to build elegant functional inspection forms in just minutes. Forget about forms you found online that are irrelevant or nonfunctional. We can show you a better way.

DITCH THE PAPER PILE

Pre-trip inspection forms exist for a reason. They serve as proof of your compliance with the law. And they help you document the entire history of a vehicle. If you are sued, accused of noncompliance, or simply need to review what work you’ve had done to a vehicle, these reports are invaluable.

Yet most managers allow these forms to pile up in a precarious heap in their offices. When they need the forms, they can’t find them. In many ways, they might as well not have them at all. The switch to digital can prevent this hassle. Whip Around allows you to organize forms for each vehicle without a paper pile or a boatload of frustration. If you need information about a specific vehicle, you can search for it without creating an avalanche of paperwork.

Paper can be a hassle for vehicle inspectors, too. They have to find the right form, take it to the inspection, ensure the form isn’t dirty or lost, and then give it to the right person. This is a recipe for missing, damaged, or incomplete paperwork. It’s also a surefire way to frustrate and annoy drivers. At Whip Around, we believe everyone deserves better than this. And we aim to deliver on that belief with solutions that work for today’s fleets.

DON’T RUSH

The number one reason pre-trip inspections fail is that they are rushed. Drivers feel pressured to get on the road so they can earn more money. Managers penalize inspectors who take too long. Or the confusing nature of forms pressures drivers to rush, or to divert their attention to the form instead of the vehicle.

Whip Around can solve all of this, and more. We offer intuitive, customized fleet management services that make pre-trip inspections a snap. Better still, we don’t forget about safety. We can help you save time, money, and hassle while making your inspections more comprehensive. Then we’ll help you flag defects, assign repairs to a mechanic, and get your vehicle back on the road -- all with the click of a button.

CDL Pre-Trip Inspections

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You know you’re supposed to do it. You might even do it occasionally. But, if you’re like many modern day truck drivers, you would rather skip it, and just hope nothing goes wrong. Odds are you guessed what I’m talking about by now. The good old CDL Pre-Trip Inspection.

Now, you might be wondering. What’s the big deal about this thing anyway? Let’s break it down in hopes of helping you avoid a break down in your truck and in your business, shall we?

WHAT IS A CDL PRE-TRIP INSPECTION?

According to CDL Training Today, “During a CDL pre-trip inspection, truckers inspect many aspects of their commercial vehicle, including the overall safety of the vehicle; major hoses, fluid levels, and vehicle belts; the clutch or gear shift; and emergency equipment.”

In other words, the inspection is the process of checking various elements of your vehicle, to make sure it is road-ready.

WHO SHOULD BE DOING THESE INSPECTIONS?

Every driver in your fleet should be doing a CDL pre-trip inspection on their vehicle. If a vehicle is going to go out on the road, it needs to be inspected before it departs. Plain and simple.

In fact, as governments add more regulation to health and safety for commercial vehicles, it is becoming even more critical that drivers complete these inspections to ensure that their vehicles are safe to be on the road.

FleetOwner.com says that completing your inspection forms, and making them easily accessible and legible, can mean the difference between getting a fine for non-compliance on the road, and smooth sailing in the event of a random roadside inspection from the DOT.    

HOW OFTEN SHOULD A PRE-TRIP INSPECTION BE DONE?

We feel they should be done daily. Not only can a daily CDL pre-trip inspection of the trucks in your fleet detect problems early on, they could save you money by helping your drivers get back on the road faster. Larger problems take longer to fix after all. So, catch them sooner, and it will take less time for repairs.

Daily inspections help ensure your trucks are safe too. This could prevent accidents, and even save lives. That may sound a little dramatic. However, did you know that according to a truck crash causation study, 29% of the accidents involving a commercial truck occurred due to brake problems? When you consider that a failure in something like a truck’s brake system could cause a fatal collision, that CDL pre-trip inspection starts feeling more like insurance, and less like a pain in the neck.

Let’s face it. Your drivers are facing enough hazards on the road. Construction, distracted drivers, daredevils who think they can cut off a truck on the highway, etc… They don’t need to add worrying about whether or not their truck is safe to the mix.  

Want to learn more about the importance of frequent truck exams? Check out our post 10 benefits of conducting daily vehicle inspections.

WHAT IS THE FASTEST WAY TO DO A CDL PRE-TRIP INSPECTION?

Enter Whip Around, aka the pre-trip vehicle inspection software that is changing the face of the DVIR. Whip Around is a mobile application that allows your drivers to carry out inspections on their mobile devices quickly to avoid unnecessary downtime, and ensure compliance with government safety regulations.

Fleet managers can create their own inspection form, and then the drivers use the mobile app to fill it out. Drivers will be prompted as they go through the form, and can report on faults within the app. Should they report a fault, they’ll be asked to take a photo and leave a comment.

Once the inspection is complete, the driver submits the form which is automatically transmitted to the fleet manager’s dashboard for review. If necessary, maintenance and repairs can be assigned to a mechanic. Otherwise, the driver can simply get on the road knowing their vehicle is safe, and road-ready.

As an added benefit, because the forms are completed electronically, your company will save time and money vs. using paper inspection forms.

It’s so simple to get started with Whip Around too. If you manage a vehicle fleet, you need pre-trip vehicle inspection software. Want to try out the Whip Around instead of taking our word for how amazing it is? You can get started with one of our freemium accounts to test out our features at no cost to you. Click here to create an account today!

What is Pre-Trip Fleet Vehicle Inspection?

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A pre-trip fleet vehicle inspection, as its name implies, is the inspection you should do of your fleet vehicles before you take off on a trip, to ensure your vehicle is safe to be on the road. What kinds of things should you be looking for in your inspection?

Today, we’ll break down:

  • A list of must-check items in your pre-trip inspection

  • Why you need to be doing a pre-trip inspection before every haul and

  • The fastest way to get it done so you can get back on the road faster

WHAT SHOULD YOU CHECK IN A PRE-TRIP FLEET VEHICLE INSPECTION


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From the front to the back of your truck and everything in between, below is a list of items you should really check on to ensure your vehicle is road ready.

The first thing you should do is check under the hood. Every check should include:

  • Examining the wiring of electrical systems such as the ignition, steering, and headlights

  • Ensure all hoses are connected and look for for any leaks that may be present

  • Examine the windshield washer fluid and make sure the container is full

  • Checking air pressure in the air filter housing and air compressor

  • Evaluate the brake drums, brake mount, brake linings and shock absorbers

  • And make sure valve caps are securely fastened

Next, make your way to the left side of the cab. Here you’ll want to make sure nothing is attached that shouldn’t be, and that things like your mirrors, lights, steps, and even air vents are working properly. Check that doors close securely, the locks work, and that windows go up and down normally.

While you’re there, remove any obstructions and/or garbage that may be in the cab. After all, according to FleetOwner.com, “a tidy cab can often mean ‘move along,’” and you’ll be less likely to have a thorough inspection in the event you are pulled over for a spot check.

Another thing to check while in the left side of the cab is that there are no cracks to the windshield, and that the wipers and blades are working properly. It’s a good idea to check that signals and hazard lights are functioning correctly inside the cab as well.

After you’ve tidied the cab, make your way to the front of the trailer. Here, you’ll be looking to ensure things like reflective tape or reflectors are intact. You also should be evaluating the body panels looking for anything that seems cracked, coming apart, or just looks out of place.

Moving on now to the left wheels and tires. You want to ensure that the tires are correctly inflated with adequate pressure, and not damaged in anyway. Wheel nuts should tight, looks for bulges or cuts in the tire sidewalls, and check that your tread path is adequate. While on that side of the vehicle also check for any visible fluid leaks that could potentially be coming from the engine, fuel systems and/or the waste water tank.

Check the tires in the front, and then make your way towards the back of the trailer on the left side to check for the following:

  • Are the rear tires in good condition?

  • Are the tail lights working properly?

  • Is the toe coupling fitted securely?

  • Are all indicators, lights and hoses fitted, working properly, clean, and free from damage?

  • What about the splash guards? Do they need the be cleaned or replaced?

At the rear of the trailer ensure that the doors, hinges and bumper are all intact. Doors should close completely. Hooks and latches as well as locks must be functioning properly. Reflectors or reflective tape must be in good condition. Check for leaks that you may see at the back for any reason.

Then, move onto the right side of the trailer and right tires. Repeat the process of checking for leaks, reflectors or reflective tape, trailer panels, the tires are in good condition, etc.

When you get back up to the right side at the front of the trailer, again you will check everything you checked on the left side before hopping into the right side of the cab. Here you will once again make sure doors and windows are functioning properly, and remove any garbage or obstructions from this side as well.

Before departure close the hood, test the horn, turn signal, headlights and high beams, and all indicators. It’s also a good idea to make sure all seatbelts are working properly, check that the fire extinguisher has been serviced and is ready to be used if needed, and that your speedometer is working correctly.

THE MOST COMMONLY OVERLOOKED ITEMS IN A PRE-TRIP INSPECTION



After months or years of driving a truck, some drivers may tend to get a little lax in their pre-trip fleet vehicle inspection. As a result, there are many elements that start getting overlooked. The most common of these include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Cleaning the vehicle. This might seem like it’s no big deal, but the reality is that what’s in your cab could cause you trouble on the road.

      • For example, an empty bottle could get stuck under a pedal causing you to wreck. Or another piece of garbage could get wedged in a mechanical device causing it to malfunction. While these scenarios may seem unlikely, they can happen.

      • We also want to reiterate that having a lot of junk in your cab could make you a bigger target for a more thorough inspection on the road. The faster you can get through those checkpoints, the faster you can get back on the road. If time is money, then it could pay to keep your cab clean.

      • This is not just an interior issue either. It’s important to maintain the cleanliness of the exterior of the vehicle as well. It’s harder to see cracks and faults on your trailer that may need maintenance, if the vehicle is too dirty.

  • Your brake system. People often forget about the importance of their brakes until the moment they have a problem with them. With your truck having heavier loads, and your slower stop time, it’s that much more imperative that you thoroughly check your brakes. Check it all, and not with just a quick glance. The wear and tear your brakes face on a daily basis demands your added attention.

  • The fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. Do you have a first aid kit in your cab? You should, and it should be well stocked/refilled when things are used or expire. And, when was the last time your fire extinguisher was serviced? Is its safety pin intact, or does it look like it’s been tampered with? Are you keeping it secure in your cab? These are things you need to think about, but may often forget about them until you need them.

  • Chock your wheels. Chocks are there to avoid the vehicle accidentally moving before you’re ready for it to. It’s far too easy to forget to chock your wheels if you’re speeding through things. Think about everything you’ll be doing in your pre-trip fleet vehicle inspection - do you really want to risk something as large as your truck moving on you while you’re performing your evaluations?

WHY YOU NEED TO PERFORM A PRE-TRIP INSPECTION BEFORE EACH TRIP

Not to sound dark and ominous here, but for starters a pre-trip fleet vehicle inspection can save lives. A brake failure, blown out tire, faulty steering system, and a host of other issues could cause an accident that could in fact lead to a death. Perhaps even your own!

What if you didn’t ensure that your rear doors on your trailer were securely fastened? Your doors could blow open on the road, and when your haul flies out it could impale another vehicle.

Let’s say you didn’t make sure your headlights were working, and you’re suddenly in a remote part of town at night with faulty lights. Would you be able to see the road safely? Doubtful!

Doing these inspections is not busy work, or just something the boss wants you to do because he enjoys giving you a hard time. It’s about preventing as many accidents as possible.

Then again, we’d be lying if we said that is all your boss cares about. It’s not just about preventing accidents. It’s also about saving as much money as possible.

Pop quiz! What costs more money to fix?

  1. A single flat tire

  2. A flat tire plus fixing the rim (because you kept driving on the flat)

You guessed it! B is the right answer. This might be an extreme answer, but it speaks to the point that smaller and/or simpler repairs cost less to fix.




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For example, if you had checked for leaks and found a fluid leak, you could have simply replaced a hose. If instead you let it go, the fluid could leak all over the engine and various systems under the hood wreaking havoc and causing significantly more expensive damage.

What’s the fastest way to make your mechanic rich, and make your boss cry? Let small repair goes unchecked, and end up needing a lot more done to the vehicle to get it road ready again.

Consider for a moment your own finances as well. If you work for a smaller fleet, you might not be able to simply drive a different truck while one is being worked on. Not only will your company be losing money while the truck is off the road, you might miss out on a paycheck. Talk about a lose-lose situation that could have been prevented.

We understand. Doing pre-trip inspections as often as you’re supposed to do them can feel tedious. Monotonous even. Sure, skipping one inspection here or there might not lead to any significant tragedies.

On the other hand, for something that really doesn’t take that much time in the grand scheme of things to do - do you really want to put your truck, your body and your company at risk by skipping it?

You may be thinking that the reason you don’t to them is because you feel it takes far too long to complete these inspections. And, if you’re using the old school pen and carbon copy paper method of doing them, we might agree with you. Luckily, there is a much better way to do inspections these days….Enter Whip Around.

THE FASTEST WAY TO COMPLETE A PRE-TRIP INSPECTION





Using the Whip Around app is hands down the fastest ways to do your pre-trip inspections. What is Whip Around you ask? It’s the revolutionary mobile application that is changing the game in terms of how motorists are handling their driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIR).

With Whip Around, you can throw out all those paper DVIRs, and instead fill them out digitally with your smartphone, iPad, or a tablet. You simply create an account, download the app, and are able to create inspection forms with a simple drag-and-drop inspection form creator. Then, you pull up the form on your phone or tablet, follow the prompts, and before you know it, your inspection is complete.

If you find any faults with your vehicle while you’re inspecting it, there’s a space in the app to take a photo of it, and leave a comment as well. Once you finish your form, it will be automatically sent in real time to your boss or fleet manager, and they can pull up the form in their web based dashboard to review. If necessary, they can assign your vehicle to a mechanic. Or, if everything is in good condition, you can get on the road that much faster.

With Whip Around, you can fill out your DVIRs quickly, and ensure compliance. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is road ready, without wasting time, or worrying about whether you skipped anything in your inspection.

Your boss will also enjoy the boost to the company’s bottom line that will inevitably occur. As a result maybe he won’t be as grouchy when you ask to take a vacation. Hey, it could happen!

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHIP AROUND AND SEE IF WE CAN HELP?

We’re more about showing than telling anyway, and you can try Whip Around for free as early as today. Create a free account by clicking here, and you’ll be up and running in no time. A few clicks, and type in some simple information, and we’re confident you will quickly see just how much faster your can do a pre-trip fleet vehicle inspection.

It costs as much as $1,000 per day for a vehicle to be off the road. If you can prevent this kind of loss, why wouldn’t you?

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The Ugly Truth about Pre-Trip Fleet Vehicle Inspection

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Every fleet driver is required by law to perform thorough pre-trip vehicle inspections. Taking the necessary precautions to ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive does not only protect the driver, it is to consider the safety of everyone else on the road as well. Unfortunately, there are currently no guidelines for how long an inspection should take. If what should be checked is properly examined, a full inspection should take 30 to 50 minutes.

Yet, many drivers rush over it and end up only spending 15-20 minutes on the task. Because many drivers do not get paid for the time they spend on each inspection, they would rather get it over with and start making headway on their trip as soon as possible. This is not only very dangerous, the CSA violation fines are not cheap.

The ugly truth about pre-trip fleet vehicle inspections are, most drivers are not making them a priority, but they need to be. Every fleet vehicle needs to make sure their drivers are committed to this process, or the results could be damaging.

MISTAKES COMMONLY MADE DURING INSPECTIONS

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Without proper guidelines, it is easy to breeze over things. Because of this, there is usually at least one mistake. Just one mistake could:

  • reduce the efficiency of the truck

  • cause long-term maintenance issues

  • and endanger the lives of many

It is up to fleet companies to enforce strict rules in order to avoid these common mistakes from happening in the future:

Insecure brakes. Checking a trucks brake system is not an easy task. The driver must climb in and out of the truck multiple times and squeeze down under the trailer. Many skip this step because it’s viewed as a pain. The reality is, brakes get worked really hard on the road, and they are often times not in proper condition. If they were to fail, there could be some serious consequences. Almost a third of all violations during roadside inspections have to do with the brakes, so every driver should spend extra time inspecting them.

Not chocking wheels. Chocks are a simple feature to secure the wheels during an inspection. This keep the vehicle in place and the inspector safe, yet many tend to forget this step or consider it unnecessary.

A messy cab. One of the first things an inspector will notice is the condition of the cab. This is where the driver is expected to be able to carry out their business, and if the cab is a mess it doesn’t make them look very responsible. Too much junk can get in your way and creates the possibility of hindering the functionality of mechanical operations (objects getting lodged under breaks or being thrown in line of vision with a sharp turn). The cab should be kept clean and all loose objects put in the glove compartment or secured in some way.

Faulty reflectors. The lights may be working fine, but if the reflectors are defective, visibility of the vehicle can be drastically reduced for others. Drivers on the road may not be able to see the vehicle in poor weather conditions or at night. Few drivers check their reflectors for cracks or dirt. This is something the driver may consider insignificant, but they still could receive a violation for it.

Inadequate emergency kit. Each emergency kit must include:

  • spare fuses

  • circuit breakers

  • warning hazard triangles

  • and a fire extinguisher

All of these items must be in working condition. Hazard triangles should be free of dirt so their reflective strips are visible. Fire extinguishers can lose pressure and need to be serviced on a regular basis.

Seatbelt problems. One should never assume their seatbelt is in good condition. If the edges are frayed the belt could snap. The way the belt retracts and returns should also be checked to ensure that it is smooth. If not, it could need replacing.

Properly placed mirror. The mirror should be adjusted so the driver’s visuals are at their best. Taking the time to do this is also viewed as a hassle by many. Not doing so could result in major blind spots. Mirrors must be angled correctly and secure enough that they won’t easily reposition themselves if the vehicle jerks.

Missing the wheels. So many problems can come from not checking the wheels and tires thoroughly. A common issue that arises is with the wheel fasteners. If these are loose, one of the wheels could come off while the truck is driving. The driver should also check for any rust around the lug nuts which could mean the bolt hole is widening.

Lack of proper paperwork. Oftentimes drivers do not check to make sure they have all of the proper paperwork and documents for the vehicle. Such papers should include:

  • up to date vehicle registration

  • up to date permit documents

  • and up to date ownership documents

When using eLogs, the driver should have one backup cycle’s worth of papers just in case.  Every fleet vehicle must have a safety inspection approval sticker and the driver’s commercial driver’s license should be up to date.

POSSIBLE INFRACTIONS

The Department of Transportation has quite a few regulations that affect fleet drivers. Without proper pre-trip inspection, a driver risks the possibility of being fined for any of these. This is a list of some of those violations from the most severe to the least:

  • operating a vehicle that is out-of-service

  • violating airbrake restriction

  • flat tire

  • fabric exposed

  • belt material exposed on the tire

  • tread or sidewall separated

  • flat tire

  • depth of tire front tread less than 4/32 of an inch

  • not using a seatbelt

  • leakage, spills, insecure cargo

  • inadequate tie downs

  • container not secured to front of the vehicle

  • inoperative headlamps

  • inoperative tail lamp

  • turn signal not working

  • defective hazard warning lamp

  • dysfunctional fog/driving lamps

  • steering wheel not secured

  • loose steering column

  • components of steering system missing

  • power steering violations

  • no pre-trip inspection

  • dysfunctional brake system

  • no emergency braking

  • no tractor protection valve

  • no automatic trailer brake

  • brake hose not secured

  • brake connections with leaks where they connect to the power unit

  • brake connections with leaks under the vehicle

  • dysfunctional brake linings

  • brakes that will not safely stop

  • clamp or rotochamber type brake not properly adjusted

  • wedge type brakes not properly adjusted

  • dysfunctional brake limiting device dysfunctional air reservoir drain valve

  • dysfunctional brake warning device

  • not dimming headlights when required to

  • violating lane restrictions

  • not using two rear vision mirrors

  • defective lighting devices

  • defective coupling devices for full trailer

  • improper chain attachment

  • improper towing connection

  • defective horn

  • dysfunctional speedometer

  • cargo not properly secured

  • insufficient working load limit

  • insufficient arrangement of tie downs

  • failure to inspect emergency equipment

  • improper placement of warning devices

  • required lamps are inoperative

  • frame is cracked, loose, sagging, or broken

  • insufficient cab parts

  • cab door missing or not fully intact

  • cab seats not secure

  • front bumper missing or broken

  • bolt holes widened on wheels

  • wheel fasteners loose

  • floor condition inadequate

  • seatbelt broken or missing

  • inadequate fire extinguisher

  • no spare fuses

  • parts not properly maintained or repaired

  • oil or grease leaking from outer wheel

  • driver’s view obstructed

  • failure to use hazards

  • damaged, discolored, or obstructed windshield

  • inadequate windows

  • emergency exit handle broken

  • fuel tank not properly secured

  • fuel tank pipe cap missing

  • defective defroster/defogger

  • exhaust system not properly located

  • exhaust discharge in wrong location

  • exhaust system not properly repaired

  • improper warning flag placement

  • intermodal container not secured

The list goes on. Considering that there are so many ways that drivers can receive violations, the driver should feel be as thorough as possible with every pre-trip inspection.

WHEN AN ACCIDENT OCCURS

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If an accident occurs while the driver is on the job, a truck or fleet accident lawyer will look into the extent of the report that was filled out for the trip. Many of the lawyers will notice a 10 minute inspection as a red flag. If a driver only took 10 minutes for the inspection, it is clear that they skipped over a lot of things. During a deposition, a lawyer can ask the driver:

  • If their pre-inspection was completed

  • The parts that they inspected

  • In what manner the inspection was carried out

  • How long the inspection took

  • If it was recorded on FMSCSA compliant paperwork

  • How often the inspection is performed throughout the trip

  • If the driver has ever found any faulty parts during an inspection

  • When the last time was that a driver reported a vehicle as out-of-service

  • If they truly think they took enough time to perform a proper inspection

  • How this person had been trained to carry out a proper pre-trip inspection

The lawyer will ask these questions to prove that the driver was not following proper safety protocols. This is not a position any employed driver wants to find themselves in. It may seem like a nuisance to do these inspections with every trip, but the extra time is worth it if they are going to avoid the devastating possible outcomes.

HOW TO KNOW YOUR DRIVERS ARE DOING PROPER PRE-TRIP INSPECTIONS

It is up the company to make sure that the drivers they employ are adequately trained and following proper procedures. With it instilled in the process, many problems will be avoided. Some suggestions for how to accomplish this are:

Train the drivers yourself. This way you can be sure that they understand what a thorough, adequate pre-trip inspection requires. You can also have a DOT officer pay a visit to do an example inspection for the drivers.

Never assume they know how to do it on their own. Not every driver may know how to do everything the right way. Make sure each driver you employ understands how to do every little thing, even down to changing a tire. People do not always know these things, and instead of telling you, they will simply skip over the items they know little about in their inspections.

Keep your drivers accountable. If you find something wrong with the vehicle that the driver did not report upon returning it, they should be responsible for it. Many will pay more attention to details if they know you are double checking their work.

Use technology. There are now electronic inspection aids on the market which provide the ability of managing the driver’s safety behavior and keeps scorecards for drivers to accent when they are doing a good job.

Make sure the problems are fixed after being in the shop. Many drivers have reported issues just to find the problem still existing after the vehicle went to the shop. This makes them feel like their efforts don’t make any difference. Make sure that when they find something, it is appreciated and taken care of.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Company management needs to be on top of their drivers and instill a system that ensures that all pre-trip inspections are being done fully. The repercussions for not doing so will reflect very poorly on the business and could get the driver into a lot of trouble on top of putting their safety at risk.

It is very easy to get away with skimming over these inspections here and there and then be in real trouble the minute that something goes wrong. Don’t let it get to that point, make it a priority to carry out pre-trip inspections thoroughly and correctly.

Class A Pre-Trip Inspection: What You Need To Know

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Whenever you send a driver out into the field, you know that there is a certain amount of risk involved. Managing an entire fleet of vehicles involves inviting possible disorder and endless potential for complications into your business. Literally anything can happen to your driver or his/her vehicle while they are in the midst of performing their duty.

So it’s essential that you take extra steps to ensure the safety of your drivers and the security of your vehicles. Thankfully, pre-trip inspections are one area of preparation that is fast becoming streamlined and even automated, making it much easier for any company with a fleet of vehicles on the road. In your case, a Class A pre-trip inspection needs to be an integral element of your process.

With so much of your business on the line, you must resist the temptation to cut corners when it comes to pre-trip inspections. Such precautions serve a variety of positive functions for your short-term and long-term prospects, and before you proceed with future plans, you might want to revisit some of your longest-held processes for opportunities for improvement.

Whether you’re already performing Class A pre-trip inspections or are completely new to this practice, we’re going to review everything you need to know to be sure that your company is reaping all the benefits of these inspections. You might just find that your current way of doing things falls tragically short of what pre-trip inspections can accomplish.

CLASS A DIFFERENCES

Taking stock of your vehicle before you hit the road is just a wise practice in general, no matter what you’re doing or where you’re headed. Whether it’s a long road trip with your family or a lengthy jaunt out of town for business, you’re placing a lot of faith in your vehicle whenever you don’t assess its condition and effectiveness beforehand.

However, when a commercial driver’s license like the Class A one your drivers likely use is involved, a pre-trip inspection is especially critical since the lack of such a regular practice could lead to disaster for you and your business.

It’s not just the commercial nature of your license holders that makes a pre-trip inspection so important for Class A licensees. This type of license — which, of course, is required to operate vehicles like tractor-trailers, truck/trailer combos and tankers — could be more prone to accidents, mishaps and other potentially harmful events due to just the sheer size and weight involved.

Also, for legal purposes, the fact that your cargo could be affected by an issue with your vehicle means that pre-trip inspections are as much of a must for Class A licensees as those with more specific types like Class B or C.

WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED

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Safety is paramount whenever you have a driver out on the road, and pre-trip inspections might be able to prevent a tragedy from occurring. In the face of day-to-day operation, it’s easy for this priority to get lost in the shuffle, but you mustn’t let this occur if you hope to make the most of your business and your team.

little preparation beforehand can help you smooth out the process for your Class A drivers. Having the right documentation on hand to keep everyone on the same page limit the potential for human error and holds everyone at your company accountable for their actions or lack thereof.

Before you send your vehicle out, you’ll need to double-check its condition and have your driver follow up with updates at least once a day. This is especially true when drivers are due to pick up a new trailer for their trucks or take a particularly long break in between their work, as you never know what might happen to a vehicle specifically during these times.

Since most of the commercial vehicles on the road are used on a near-constant basis, wear and tear can adversely affect many aspects of their operation. So, before you (or your driver) get ready for a pre-trip inspection, here’s some guidelines for how to prepare:

  • Have your tools handy: You’ll need a few basics to perform your inspection. You never know when you’ll have to jump in with a minor repair. So have a hammer on you. Also, regardless of when the inspection is being done, you should keep a flashlight at the ready so that you can zero in on the details of your vehicle. Of course, be sure that whoever performs the inspection is wearing gloves, to prevent any accidental injury that may occur.

  • Preliminary safety steps: Before any inspection begins, be absolutely certain that your parking brakes are set and that the transmission is securely switched into the first gear. Anything can happen during these pre-trip inspections, and safety must come first. You can never underestimate the potential for something to go terribly awry. Keeping the vehicle in this state — and even going so far as to put wheel immobilizers — places the life of your driver and others ahead of everything else.

  • Light your vehicle up: Both as a means to test these basic elements of your vehicle and to alert others to your activity, you should always switch your four-way flashes on, as well as your brake lights and headlights. These are some of the most important elements of your vehicle, since they are among the biggest accident deterrents. As such, you need to take great care in checking them first whenever an inspection is due.

Once you have the above steps taken care of, it’s time to remove your key, head around to the front of your vehicle and pop that hood open. Let’s get into the thick of your pre-trip inspection!

BREAKING DOWN THE INSPECTION PROCESS



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The objectives of a pre-trip inspection are multifaceted. However, despite the many benefits of making this a routine part of how you conduct business, there are certain key elements that any inspection needs to cover to ensure its comprehensiveness and effectiveness. Here are some of the most basic aspects that your drivers need to hit with every inspection:

  • Overall safety: We’ll get into the full breadth of why pre-trip inspections are so important below, but for now, bear in mind that the general safety of each vehicle should be your top concern, starting with the aforementioned headlights, brake lights and other basic safety features. Safety is the primary function of any inspection.

  • Vehicle hoses: Be sure that every pre-trip vehicle inspection involves a look at all the major vehicle hoses. You never know when one can become detached or damaged or even spring a leak. Any puddles or drips will help tip you off to any kind of hose damage, but make it a point to specifically check for it.

  • Fluid levels: Sure, this may be automobile care 101, but it’s still worth mentioning all the same. Critical fluids such as motor oil and power steering fluid are, in many respects, the lifeblood of your vehicle. Before a vehicle is taken out on any trip, these fluids should all be at their optimal level to prevent incident and ensure peak performance.

  • Vehicle belts: If any damage were to come to any of the many belts that play integral roles in your vehicle’s operation, you might be facing a dangerous situation. So your inspection should include routine checks for the snugness and condition (especially watch out for cracks or frays) of your power steering belt, alternator belt and others.

  • Your clutch: Seeing as it governs the power transmission responsible for all your vehicle’s operation, your clutch (or gear shift) is easily one of the most important parts of your vehicle. Before any driving commences, check that it is functioning normally to prevent any trouble on the road.

  • Mirrors and windshields: It may sound so simple to even mention, but your vehicle’s visibility inevitably plays a role in your safety and security. All mirrors and windshields therefore must be unblemished, intact and clear. You don’t want anything — not even something as basic as a dirty or cracked mirror standing in the way of the safe performance of your vehicle.

  • Emergency equipment: Even with all the precautions you may be taking, your drivers should still be prepared for anything to happen. Case in point, it’s always a good idea to keep some emergency equipment — such as spare electrical fuses, reflective triangles and a fire extinguisher — on hand. If all goes well, you’ll never need them. But if it doesn’t, you’ll be ready.

  • Other concerns: Performing a top-to-bottom inspection of your vehicle means that you’ll want to keep a close eye on whether every element is working properly. For instance, check your oil pressure gauge and other standard parts of your vehicle for malfunction. This will prevent your driver from making a dangerous miscalculation on the road.

WHY PRE-TRIP INSPECTIONS ARE IMPORTANT

For Class A license holders, pre-trip inspections are an indispensable part of the job. With so many miles put on each vehicle on such a constant basis and so much riding on each trip, oftentimes a thorough inspection could be all that stands between a successful job and one that spells doom for all involved. Just imagine the results if one were to fail to perform a routine check on a vehicle and then some flaw that should have been easily identified winds up causing an accident.

These inspections allow a driver to regularly ensure that a vehicle’s various components are operating as they should and that nothing — either an unplanned event or the simple business operation of the vehicle — has resulted in any adverse effects that might impact the next day of work. Even if it sounds like it may slow down productivity, such a process could very well save lives and protect the long-term future of your business.

In addition to the safety of your driver and others on the road, another key reason that pre-trip inspections are so vital is that they provide documentation of a vehicle’s condition. If, for instance, an accident or damage to a vehicle does occur, daily vehicle inspection reports would serve as evidence that the vehicle was in a certain condition beforehand, making it easier to identify what damage resulted in the accident in question and increasing your chances of sussing out the truth of what happened.

Moreover, both you and your driver will have peace of mind with pre-trip inspections on the books. With the most likely root causes of problems definitively checked off, you can rest easy in knowing that your vehicle is in prime condition, essentially protecting your driver and your mission in one fell swoop.

A BETTER WAY TO INSPECT




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Now that we’ve outlined everything you need to do for the perfect class-A pre-trip inspection as well as why it’s so important, we hope we’ve inspired you to enhance the way you approach your business, at least where such pre-trip precautions are concerned.

The steps you take before each of your drivers’ journeys out into the field can make a world of difference in your bottom line and in the overall well-being of your company. But, in the event that you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything involved in an optimal pre-trip inspection, allow us to make the entire process that much easier. After all, it’s our business to streamline and simplify pre-trip inspections for companies just like yours.

At Whip Around, we offer the opportunity to save you time and money by taking the guesswork and complications out of pre-trip inspections. You’ll be able to bid farewell to paper-based inspection reports and grant your drivers the ability to file even daily inspections — including photos, comments and additional notes — through their smartphone or other mobile device.

Thanks to modern technology, you can automate every detail of the inspection process and eliminate the administrative headaches that typically accompany daily vehicle inspection reports. Moreover, our system provide analytics so that you can find ways to serve your customers better without any other discovery process.

Even if you don’t think you need Whip Around, we’re confident that you’ll realize otherwise once you give it a try. For more information about our system and to get started for free, visit us now.

Vehicle Inspection Forms - The Digital Future of DVIR (eDVIR)

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Federal law requires drivers to complete a driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) for any vehicle they operate. Drivers must also review the previous day’s vehicle inspection form, signing off on any errors or other issues before operating the vehicle.

It’s a simple enough requirement, and its obvious purpose is to keep everyone on the road safe. Yet for managers operating large fleets, tracking daily DVIRs, ensuring drivers complete them, and addressing any issues these reports identify can become an onerous task.

Enter the DVIR -- Digital Vehicle Inspection Report. An easy, affordable alternative to endless stacks of paper, digital documents help managers stay on top of their fleet, while remaining in compliance with the law.

Whip Around offers easy-to-complete digital reports, encouraging drivers to remain in compliance without a manager continually reminding them. The future of vehicle inspection reports is digital. Switch to eDVIR now and watch life get a lot easier for everyone involved.

DRIVER COMPLIANCE: AN UNFAIR BURDEN FOR EVERYONE

You can’t operate a fleet very long without running into the incredible burdens of getting drivers to accurately and fully complete vehicle inspection forms each and every day. Indeed, many managers spend a significant amount of their time and energy dealing with these reports. Does the following task list sound familiar (and overwhelming)?

In a given day you probably:

  • Remind drivers to complete their inspection forms - possibly multiple times.

  • Find that certain vehicles have no completed inspection forms, and must find the driver and ask them to complete the form.

  • Must review vehicle inspection forms to ensure that they are complete and accurate.

  • Have to manage vehicles with flagged flaws. That might include finding mechanics, rerouting drivers, changing schedules, and managing other logistical issues associated with having a vehicle out of commission.

  • Have to remind drivers that it’s not enough to just check off boxes. They must actually inspect the vehicles, and ensure they are safe to drive.

This is a burden that slows everyone down, and can even erode morale. No one likes a manager standing over their shoulder constantly telling them what to do. Depending on your drivers’ educational level and patience, they may find inspection forms overwhelming, confusing, or impossible to complete.

A driver who is an excellent motorist might be almost totally incapable of filling out forms. This creates an unfair situation: the driver who is excellent at their job is continually getting negative feedback because of their inability to do something only tangentially related to their job. And a manager who understands this challenge is stuck trying to manage it.

It’s easy to just throw up your hands. But it’s important to consider that there are very good reasons to conduct routine vehicle inspection reports.

THE REAL REASON YOU MUST CONDUCT DAILY VEHICLE INSPECTIONS

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Globally, almost 1.3 million people die in car crashes every year, with about 37,000 dying annually in the United States alone. That’s more than the number of people who die from many other illnesses. It’s a staggering figure. What’s even more troubling is that these deaths are almost entirely preventable.

Vehicle inspection reports help you do your part to stem the tide of people dying in car crashes. About 43% of car crashes are due, in full or in part, to mechanical failure. If your fleet includes large vehicles, even a minor failure can be catastrophic. Consider the effects of weak brakes on a tractor trailer, and what might happen if that truck rear-ends another. What might be a minor accident in a small car can be fatal for everyone when a large vehicle is involved.

Daily inspections can save lives. They also protect your company by:

  • Reducing the risk that you’ll be sued over an accident or injury.

  • Protecting your drivers.

  • Promoting your good reputation by ensuring your drivers do not endanger others.

Perhaps most importantly of all, daily vehicle inspection reports are mandated by federal law. Some states have also enacted additional requirements. So even if you can’t see the value of these reports on their own, failure to complete them could put your business in jeopardy.

DVIR: A WAY TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW

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Vehicle inspection reports are vital to everyone’s safety. They ensure that vehicle issues are quickly flagged before they escalate out of control. In so doing, they keep drivers, motorists, and your company safe. If something goes wrong, a well-designed and accurate vehicle inspection report can mean save your company and its reputation.

A fully completed vehicle inspection report may even become an important piece of evidence following an accident or other incident. If the report is thorough and accurate, it could protect you from fines and lawsuits. If not, you could be in a world of legal trouble.

Beyond the commonsense benefits of tracking vehicle safety and compliance, the law requires that most drivers operating commercial vehicles complete daily reports. Failure to comply with the law can have myriad consequences, including fines and other harsh penalties.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires:

  • Drivers must inspect and complete a vehicle inspection report each day. The report must include both the vehicle and the trailer, if there is one. It cannot be just a cursory “check-off,” either. The report must be an accurate statement of the vehicle’s condition.

  • Fleet managers can design their own forms so long as those forms meet DOT requirements. Those requirements include, at minimum, an inspection of service brakes, trailer brake connections, parking brake, steering mechanism, reflectors, lighting devices, horn, tires, windshield wipers, rear view mirrors, wheels and rims, coupling devices, and emergency equipment.

  • All defects to a vehicle must be repaired before it is operated again. So a driver who signs off on a report indicating a defect when those defects have not been remedied could subject his or her company to compliance issues. A declaration must clearly state that any defects have been remedied.

It’s not enough to just complete these forms, though. You have to keep them on file for a minimum of three months. Many advisors even suggest that managers retain inspection forms longer. After all, these forms can be used to document a history of compliance, become important evidence in a lawsuit, or even show that repairs for which you seek a tax deduction were actually made. These forms form a vital part of your daily operations, and neglecting them can throw your company into disarray.

VEHICLE INSPECTION FORMS: THE ENDLESS PILE OF PAPER -- AND WHY IT’S A PROBLEM

You need at least one vehicle inspection form per vehicle each day. Depending on whether there are issues with the vehicle, you may need to gather additional paperwork, including a declaration that faults with the vehicle have been repaired. Federal law requires you to retain these forms for three months, though there are myriad reasons to retain them longer.

The result? An endless pile of paper. Even if you have just four vehicles and opt to retain your reports for only three months, that’s 360 forms at the end of that period if your vehicles are operated each day. This is more than most managers can reasonably be expected to keep up with.

We need also to consider why managers should remain on top of paperwork. Vehicle inspection reports prove compliance with the law. They document a vehicle’s repair and fault history. They can also document a driver’s history of both inspections and compliance—two critical factors if the driver gets into an accident or you are sued for something the driver does (or doesn’t do).

How quickly can you access your vehicle reports? If a driver gets into an accident, will you be able to pull the vehicle’s entire history without tearing apart your office? If you're accused of noncompliance, can you easily show that you have always complied with the law?

Even if you can, consider how much time and energy you waste gathering and storing paperwork. If you’re like most managers, it’s probably nearly impossible for you to maintain an organized stack of papers across a long period of time. This means you may spend significant portions of your work day dealing with papers -- organizing them, finding them, and possibly discarding them.

What could you do with an extra hour or two each day? Consider how much you get paid per hour. That’s how much money your company loses when you have to spend that time fighting about paperwork and locating misplaced documents. Think about how your life would be different if you could eliminate this chronic source of low-level stress from your life.

You might be able to:

  • See more of the big picture, empowering you to streamline operations.

  • More effectively supervise your team.

  • Better observe drivers, offering them quality feedback and incentives.

  • Enjoy a vacation without fear. If you have a well-managed system in place, then finding documents in your absence becomes much easier -- and doesn’t have to involve trashing your office.

Some managers already know how much easier it is when they don’t have to manage paperwork. That’s because they’ve already given up. They throw papers in a pile in the corner of the office, and hope they never have to look at them again. Inevitably, they regret this decision when they have to prove compliance, answer to a higher-up, or provide evidence for litigation. Don’t buy your short-term relaxation at the long-term expense of your company and your well-being.

You really can quit spending so much time managing paperwork while still organizing that paperwork in an effective and orderly fashion. The solution is a digital vehicle inspection report (eDVIR).

THE WHIP AROUND SOLUTION

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Whip Around ends the paperwork nightmare. Our simple and powerful software fully digitizes vehicle inspection reports.

What does this mean for you?

  • Everything is saved. You no longer have to worry about lost paperwork. And that means you can save vehicle inspection forms for as long as you want, potentially extending immense protections to your company and your drivers.

  • No more piles of paper in the corner of your office.

  • Less time spent hounding drivers to fill out paperwork. The paperwork is readily available, and you can design powerful forms that your drivers understand and can easily complete.

  • You can search for whatever forms you need -- whether it’s the complete history of a single vehicle, or details about a pattern of problems you’ve seen across multiple vehicles.

  • Your history of compliance is fully documented. In fact, your use of digital vehicle inspection reports may even help prove that you’re committed to compliance. Federal agencies understand that errors may occur on forms.

BUILD YOUR OWN INSPECTION FORMS

Whip Around allows managers to effortlessly build their own inspection forms. This helps you comply with the law, while creating forms your drivers actually understand. Use the lingo your drivers use, and refer to vehicles by their names -- rather than by the generic terms you might see in forms you download off the Internet.

Whip Around walks you through the process, making it easy to construct attractive forms that get the job done, and that memorialize what’s most important to you.

INSPECT FROM VIRTUALLY ANY DEVICE

Forget about being tied to the computer. Whip Around allows drivers to fill out inspection forms with their phones. What’s more, it prevents them from merely checking off a box. They must physically inspect the vehicle, and provide satisfactory information about its condition. This ensures that drivers can easily inspect vehicles without disrupting the flow of their day. It also ensures that the data you get from those inspections is accurate and actionable.

That keeps your drivers safe, your cars in sound working order, and ensures you remain in compliance.

IMMEDIATELY ADDRESS INSPECTION REPORTS

One of the biggest challenges of vehicle reports is responding to mechanical issues. This complex task requires choosing the right mechanic, tracking the progress of repairs, and ensuring nothing gets lost in the shuffle. It can also be helpful to observe trends over time -- such as if you continually see the same mechanical issue in the same vehicle, associated with the same driver, or after driving the same route.

Whip Around makes it easy to flag mechanical issues, to monitor changes over time, to assign repairs to a mechanic, and to notify drivers when a repair is done. This empowers you to intelligently plan routes, support your drivers, and maintain a professional, safe driving environment.

The world of fleet management is tough. It’s more than most managers can manage on their own. And now, they don’t have to. Regain control over your life and time with Whip Around. We keep your drivers safe, your vehicles in excellent operating condition, and ensure your company is always moving forward.

Conduct a Pre-Trip Inspection from Anywhere, Anytime

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It’s a familiar and frustrating scene to anyone who manages a fleet: a vehicle breaks down, leaving you to figure out how to get it back to the warehouse. Now you’re stuck sending another vehicle in its place, potentially disrupting your entire schedule. The problem vehicle will need repairs that may require coordinating a team of mechanics.

It’s a behind the scenes task that seems simple, but that can eat up hours, time, and energy. Pre-trip inspections can reduce the likelihood and frequency of this scenario, but they come with their own set of challenges -- until now.

With Whip Around, you can conduct pre-trip inspections any time, anywhere. Our efficient and reliable software gives you back your time, while ensuring your vehicles are always in excellent working order. Here’s why Whip Around is a sound investment for your fleet.

Streamlining the inspection process from anywhere

Whip Around offers comprehensive fleet inspection software that allows you to inspect and monitor your vehicles anywhere you can access a digital device. Our mobile app makes it easy to take your inspections on the road, so there’s no longer a need to stand over anyone’s shoulder during inspections.

This means easier inspections, a less demanding schedule, and the ability to stay on top of vehicle repairs while still tending to the many other moving parts of your business. Here’s what Whip Around does to make it easier to manage your fleet from anywhere:

  • Customizable forms: Some programs require you to work with their forms, which may or may not work well for the way you do business. Whip Around allows you to customize your own forms based on Excel spreadsheets or checklists. The result? Attractive, clear forms that are customized to the way you do business.

  • Actionable information: Our program flags faults in your fleet, allowing you to take action and make notes about any action you take or plan to take. You can also delegate specific actions to mechanics or other members of your staff.

  • Individual profiles: Not every mechanic is equipped to work on every vehicle. Some teams might be more important than others. And your highest priority vehicles may need to get back on the road first.

  • Performance insights: Our analytics data takes fleet management to the next level. We provide extensive documentation about performance and potential areas of improvement. This allows you to plan for the short-term and for the future in a way that maximizes profits, minimizes stress, and keeps your fleet operating in world-class condition.

Acting on inspections: manage your repairs wherever you are

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These inspections can alert you to issues that may sideline a trip. They also draw attention to less critical issues that may need your attention in the coming weeks. Whether the repair is urgent or simply involves routine maintenance, Whip Around helps you manage repairs wherever you are.

In today’s competitive climate, it’s not enough to know that a vehicle needs repairs and then rush to see that those repairs happen. Whip Around offers much more, giving your business a competitive edge while freeing you up to manage other aspects of your company.

Our software is different because:

  • It gives you complete administrative control. Set up individual profiles for teams, vehicles, or users. Seamlessly add new users, control what they can access, and change access permissions in seconds.

  • It’s completely secure. You might be concerned about moving your sensitive fleet data to the cloud. You should be. Whip Around takes security seriously, offering world-class security that put your information behind a virtually impenetrable wall -- all while keeping it totally accessible to you and your team.

  • You can reliably access your information whenever you want.Whip Around has 99.99% uptime, and is constantly monitoring for bugs and glitches. You don’t have to worry about a temporary outage undermining your business operations.

  • Our program can be integrated with other programs your business depends on. The Whip Around API allows you to seamlessly connect data from Whip Around with other tools you use to run your business.

  • Get help when you need it. There are a veritable avalanche of programs promising to help you streamline inspections and operations. But how many can connect you to a real, live human being when you need support? We offer 24/7 email and chat customer service. That means you don’t have to be a tech expert to use our program, and you certainly don’t have to worry about a small issue mushrooming into something that slows operations for days.

Monitor your vehicles from anywhere

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Sooner or later, it happens to everyone who owns or manages a fleet: the pre-trip inspection indicates everything is fine, but something goes wrong on the road. Whip Around allows you to monitor your vehicles from anywhere. So when something goes wrong, you can tend to it immediately. Get a mechanic working on the issue before you even get back to the office.

Whip Around automatically syncs data from the driver’s smartphone to your dashboard. Practically speaking, this means Whip Around may be able to alert you to a problem before it becomes a catastrophe -- and often before a vehicle breaks down.

By comparing the real-world experience of drivers and their vehicles to the data you get from inspections and our continuously updated analytics, you can customize your approach to vehicle inspections. Over time, this can reduce the frequency with which vehicles break down, help you construct a custom maintenance and inspection schedule, and save you time and money.

Gain insight into vehicle performance

  • Which vehicles give you the most trouble?

  • Is there a specific driver who seems to run vehicles into the ground?

  • Or does a specific make or model of vehicles seem to run better than others?

  • What’s the longest you can go without an oil change without having problems?

  • How frequently do vehicles need routine maintenance?

  • Does every vehicle require a pre-trip inspection?

  • Do vehicles serviced by a specific mechanic seem to run better?

  • Do specific brands of tires, oil, or other products seem to hold up better?

  • Are vehicles more vulnerable to maintenance issues on specific routes or in certain climates?

Managing a fleet requires you to know your vehicles -- as well as the people who drive and service them -- like the back of your hand. Can you answer the above questions? Do you know what needs to change about your fleet in the next month, the next year, the next five years? You should.

Being able to answer simple as well as complex questions about your fleet can save you money, prevent maintenance problems, and give you a leg up on your competition. Knowledge is power, and the fleet owner who knows more can do more.

Knowing more is a tall order, particularly when you have other things to tend to. Unless you have a perfect memory and the ability to perfectly monitor trends over time, you need some way to track vehicle performance.

Whip Around offers real-time analytics and alerts that can help you more intelligently manage your fleet -- and the drivers who operate that fleet. Your competition may already be deploying a bevy of strategies to manage their fleet, run more efficiently, save money, and get the most for every vehicle’s buck. Don’t you want to join them in that endeavor?

Get your life back

Many business owners who manage a fleet have an entire business to operate. They may need to track inventory, deal with customers, construct sales pitches, and handle a host of other challenges. Being physically present for inspections, managing repairs, contacting mechanics, and the seemingly endless array of other tasks that await you each day can take you away from the core of your business. Whip Around gives you your life back.

Even if fleet management is your full-time and only business role, being able to outsource some of your daily work can free up valuable time. Ultimately, everyone works because they want more money and a better life. Whip Around offers both.

By managing some of your daily operations for you, Whip Around ensures that:

  • You can spend more time out of the office. Need to go to a parent-teacher conference or a doctor’s appointment? Work no longer has to interfere.

  • You can take guilt-free vacations. Enjoy your hard-earned money and spend time with your family, so you can return to work rested and rejuvenated. If there’s a fleet crisis, Whip Around helps you manage it from afar. Pre-trip inspections will no longer require your presence.

  • You can focus on your much-neglected hobbies because you no longer have to spend all of your time at the office.

Work-life balance is the key to happiness. No matter how many vehicles are in your fleet or how demanding your work is, you deserve a break. That’s what Whip Around gives you.

How remote pre-trip inspections can

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Sure, it’s convenient to have more free time or to no longer need to be on site for each inspection. But is the convenience worth it? We think so. Research shows that happy employees are more productive. So a little more free time a little less time spent worrying about inspections can improve your own productivity, and possibly that of your staff, too. Consider the time and hassle you currently spend managing inspections.

The effort likely includes:

  • Tracking down vehicles that need to be inspected, and planning multiple inspection times based on when vehicles will be available.

  • Assigning problem vehicles to various mechanics, usually in person.

  • Monitoring vehicles for signs that it might be time for repairs.

  • Monitoring trends in vehicle inspection failures and repairs.

  • Revamping your schedule based on which vehicles are out of commission, and which vehicles should only make short trips.

  • When necessary, replacing vehicles that cannot be economically repaired.

This can all easily become a full-time job. Perhaps you’ve hired a fleet manager to take care of these tasks for you. With Whip Around’s fleet management software, however, you can outsource much of the work to an automated program that does the heavy lifting for you.

Depending on your business model, this can revolutionize the way you do business. The benefits of automated inspections include:

  • Saving money. You might be able to eliminate a full-time employee, or reduce their hours to part-time. You’ll also save money on catastrophic vehicle failures, and be better equipped to plan trip routes based on which vehicles are in working order. This can help you make more money, and reduce the total costs of repairs.

  • Fewer fines and regulatory penalties. Depending upon your business model and whom you serve, a vehicle in poor working order could trigger fines and other regulatory penalties. Staying on top of your fleet with our software can help you avoid this annoyance.

  • Better customer service. No one likes to have to call a customer and tell them the vehicle will be late, or that the delivery must be rescheduled. You can more effectively serve your customers, potentially improving your reputation and even picking up a few new customers.

With more time to focus on managing your business, you may be able to cultivate more effective marketing, streamline other operations, engage in more customer interactions, become more involved in the community, and find new ways to grow your company. In today’s competitive climate, success is all about outsourcing what you can. To really thrive, however, you musty outsource carefully, choosing your partners wisely. Whip Around is a silent partner that gets the job done effectively, affordably, and confidentially.

How much do you bill for your time? Consider that every moment you spend on fleet management is time that you could be billing for your labor and expertise. Every hour you free up is an hour of money earned. Your time is the most valuable asset you have, because it’s the only thing you can’t get more of or earn back when it’s gone. Use it wisely with Whip Around.

Start now for free

Whip Around marks a categorically different way of doing things for most companies that operate a fleet. And while this can save time and money while reducing stress, change can also be scary. That’s why we offer a chance to start now, for free. There’s no credit card required. Give Whip Around a try and see if it works for you. That’s how confident we are in our revolutionary program.

Ready to see how easy it can be to manage a fleet with a little help? Start today. You can contact us for support, or click here to begin the registration process.

7 Tips to Passing a CDL Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection

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A CDL pre-trip vehicle inspection is one of the most important things a driver can do to ensure that their vehicle is safe on the road. Of course time is money, and every minute that you're not back on the road you're potentially losing money. That's why it's imperative you create a vehicle inspection process that can be done efficiently.


You need a repeatable process that enables you to check your vehicle quickly but thoroughly, make sure that it's road-ready, and gets you back on the road as soon as possible. With that in mind below are seven tips to passing a CDL pre-trip vehicle inspection.

  1. Download and use DVIR software on your smartphone that allows you optimize the process of doing a CDL Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection with ease. We may be biased, but we recommend the Whip Around™ app.  

  2. Have a predetermined set of things to look for in your inspection so that you can do it quickly and effectively every time.

  3. Document everything with photos and keep thorough records to avoid tickets/fines.

  4. Check your vehicle every 24 hours, with every shift change, and/or when picking up new equipment to catch small problems before they become big and costly ones.

  5. Keep your boss/fleet manager in the loop as to what’s going on with your vehicle at all times so that faults can be fixed quickly.

  6. Repair the faults that compromise the safety of the vehicle prior to your departure. Also be sure to schedule maintenance for and/or keep an eye on things that may need to be repaired/replaced in the near future.

  7. Keep up with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations so you’re always certain you know what it takes to be compliant.

1. Download the Whip Around App

Whip Around is the driver vehicle inspection report software that has changed the game when it comes to the CDL Pre-Trip Inspection. The application is available for both Android and iOS phones, and comes with everything you need to create a thorough and well documented vehicle report.

Download the app for free, enter some simple information as well as your license plate, and voila! You have a paperless system at the ready at all times to keep records about the status of your commercial vehicle. Just a few of the features of Whip Around include:

  • Mobile checklists to keep track of what’s working, what’s not, and what needs immediate attention.

  • The ability to take photos of worn and broken elements of your vehicle such as broken windshields and burned out taillights and headlights.

  • Automatic syncing between your smartphone and the web based dashboard, so that you and your fleet manager will always know the status of your vehicle.

With Whip Around in your pocket, you’ll always have a documented report of your vehicle, and the ability to make a new report whenever you want to.

2. Streamline the CDL pre-trip inspection process

When you have a checklist that you can use every time you need to do a pre-trip inspection, you can do it faster without worrying whether or not you missed something. Not only does Whip Around have a 12 step form preloaded in the freemium account, you can upgrade to the Premium Plan and add custom elements to your checklist.

WHAT KINDS OF THINGS SHOULD YOU BE LOOKING FOR IN YOUR PRE-TRIP INSPECTION PROCESS?

The freemium account of Whip Around includes an inspection checklist for the following:

  • Windshield, windshield wipers, sun visor and mirror:

    • Do your wipers work correctly?

    • Is the windshield clean and not cracked?

    • Are the wiper blades damaged?

    • Is the washer fluid container full?

    • Do the windshield washers work correctly?

  • Lights and indicators

    • Are all lights work correctly including your hazard lights?

    • Are the lenses clean and not cracked?

  • Left and Right wheels and tires (note: in the app there are two separate sections for the left and right wheels and tires. This allows you to assess one side of the vehicle completely before moving to the other side instead of bouncing around.)

    • Are the tires on both sides of the vehicle correctly inflated and not damaged?

    • Are the wheel nuts tightened?

    • Is there any damage to the wheels?

    • Do you see cuts or bulges in the tire sidewalls?

    • Is the tread path adequate?

  • Left and Right Fluid leaks (note: again, there are two separate sections for the right and left side of the vehicle in the app)

    • Do you notice any fluid leaks on the right or left side of the vehicles from the engine, fuel system or waste water tank?

  • Reflectors, toe coupling, tail lights, indicators and air hoses

    • Is everything fitted, working, clean and not damaged?

  • Doors and seat belts

    • Do all doors open and close fully?

    • Is a fire extinguisher present, serviced and ready for use?

    • Are all seat belts working correctly

  • Horn and Speedometer

    • Does the horn work correctly?

    • Is the speedometer working correctly?

  • What is your current mileage?

  • Final check for road readiness of the vehicle:

    • Steering for excessive free movement

    • No apparent air leaks from  breaks

    • All switches and warning lines operate correctly

    • Sufficient fuel to complete trip

  • The end of the 12 step form also includes a space for the signature of the driver that inspected the vehicle. An unsigned inspection report can be grounds for a ticket/fine. Speaking of fines...

3. Keep Records - Avoid Fines

If you get a random inspection at a weigh station, or are pulled over for any reason and cause is found to do a random inspection, it’s imperative you have documentation for any faults that may be found. The phrase “I didn’t know” simply won’t save you, unfortunately.

In the event that the random inspection results in finding faults you don’t have documentation for, a few things can happen --

  • You could get a fine

  • You might be ordered to have it repaired before you can continue on your trip

  • You could get a fine, and be ordered to have it repaired

  • Your vehicle could be placed out of service and require towing to the nearest repair shop, and again you could get a fine.

This is why doing the CDL pre-trip vehicle inspection is so important. You need to be able to find and repair faults quickly, and/or have documentation related to faults that aren’t quite necessary to repair just yet.

WHAT CAN WARRANT A ROADSIDE INSPECTION?

Some states spot check CDL vehicles at weigh stations, others will do an inspection if they pull you over for moving violations.

At weigh stations, the DOT doesn’t necessarily have time to thoroughly inspect every truck that comes through, however you should always be ready for one. According to FleetOwner.com, “a tidy cab can often mean ‘move along,’” and you won’t have a thorough inspection.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep your cab tidy at all times. Fleet Owner also suggests having a pleasant attitude, and making sure your documents are easily accessible to that they’re easy to inspect.

Trucker Insider says that there are six levels to a roadside inspection with level one being the most thorough, complete with the DOT inspector crawling “underneath, over, onto and through (you get the point) of your vehicle.”

Levels two through five are varying degrees of thoroughness, and level six “is reserved for those that haul transuranic waste and Highway rout[e] controlled quantities of radioactive material.”

If you are pulled over for speeding or any other roadway violation, you could face a roadside inspection of your CDL vehicle as well. For this reason alone, it’s a good idea to obey speed limits and follow the other rules of the road so you can stay on the road, and stick to your driving schedule.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE CHOSEN FOR A ROADSIDE INSPECTION?

  • Stay calm

  • Be pleasant

  • Answer any and all questions to the best of your ability

  • Hand over all requested documentation

Hopefully no violations will be found, and you’ll be back on the road quickly and painlessly.

4. Catch small problems before they become big problems

Did you know that a small crack in a windshield can turn into a large crack or even a completely shattered windshield while driving on the road? Hitting a pothole or a big bump in the road could result in you needing the windshield completely replaced if you don’t repair small cracks as soon as you notice them.

The same can be said for other small problems -- they can all turn into bigger and much more expensive ones. For example, a leaky hose left unrepaired could drain your windshield washer fluid, or worse your brake fluid! That can get expensive real fast.

Consider for a moment the legal troubles you could also face if you didn’t ensure the wheel nuts were tightened, and then a wheel came loose and hit another motorist on the road. Though this may seem unlikely, it’s better to ensure the safety of your vehicle not just for yourself, but for other drivers you will be sharing the road with.

While it’s true that some things can wear and tear a while before needing to be replaced, it’s a good idea to keep documentation on any and all faults of your vehicle so that you can track the urgency for the repairs and replacements of those faults.

5. Give your fleet manager your reports

A good manager is an informed one. With Whip Around, fleet managers will always know the status of the vehicles in their fleet. As soon as a driver completes their CDL pre-inspection report, they can instantly sign it and send it. It will then automatically sync from their smartphone to the fleet manager’s web based dashboard.

This ensures that the fleet manager will always be kept in the loop as to whether or not the vehicles in their fleet need repairing, and will also give them up to date analytics so they can track if there is a sudden uptick in repairs and issues.

6. Repair what you can ASAP, and schedule the rest

It’s critical that you repair the faults that compromise the safety of the vehicle prior to your departure for a trip. Though it can be frustrating to delay a trip due to repairs, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Simply putting it off until the next day or even the next trip could be the difference between getting a fine during a spot inspection from the DOT, and having a trip free of hassles. Delaying your repairs in the worst case scenario could be the difference of getting into an accident and your safe return home.

You or your fleet manager should schedule regular maintenance for your vehicle as well. Things like oil changes, wheel alignment, keeping your fluids full (wiper fluid, power steering, coolant, etc…), air filters, batteries, and so on are important for both safety and comfort. The better condition your vehicle is kept in, the less likely you are to experience down time, and as a result, loss of income.

7. KEEP UP TO DATE WITH FMCSA REGULATIONS

Do you know what the current FMCSA regulations are for drivers? If you’ve been a driver for a while, it may have been months or even years since you last studied the FMCSA manual. Even if you’re not going to be taking a test again any time soon, it’s important that you keep up to date with all FMCSA regulations so you’re always certain you know what it takes to be compliant.

It may be a good idea to have education days regularly to ensure that you and your fleet are up to date on the latest rules. It’s better to know the law and avoid a fine, than try and argue your way out of a ticket for non compliance. If your fleet manager isn’t interested in education days, you can always search the FMCSA website on your own to keep yourself educated on the rules.

READY TO TRY WHIP AROUND?

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If you have been looking for reliable a DVIR software-solution, perhaps it’s time to give Whip Around a try. We’re confident you’ll be impressed with just how quickly you can inspect your vehicles to ensure they are safe and road-ready.

Learn more about pricing and create your free account today! We look forward to making your CDL Pre-Trip Inspection process a little easier on your company and its employees.