Driver Vehicle Inspection Report

Paper-Based DVIR Procedures Are Getting a Facelift with Technology

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For fleet managers like yourself, daily inspection reports are just another part of the reality of running your business. However, they don't have to be nearly the headache that they once were proven to be. In recent years, new tools have arisen to provide you with the option of setting aside your paper-based process in favor of something a bit more in keeping with today’s technologically driven landscape.

After all, daily vehicle inspection reports (DVIR) are already a required element of commercial vehicles and provide necessary protections for both your business and, by extension, your drivers. So, considering the indispensable nature of DVIR, why should you and your drivers be forced to deal with an archaic way of doing things if a better option already exists?

That’s the question your industry is currently facing, as the rise of an electronic-based alternative to traditional DVIR — coined eDVIR— has challenged the entire framework with which inspection reports are created, completed and submitted. As news spreads, the battle of paper-based DVIR versus eDVIR is undoubtedly going to rage on.

The only question that remains is which side of the debate you and your company will be on when all is said and done. Some veterans of your industry may balk at technology essentially stepping in to revolutionize such a critical part of your business, but others will see this as an opportunity to streamline part of your drivers’ routine. But before you settle on your own perspective, we’ll take you through both DVIR and its digital counterpart so that you can make an informed decision.

DVIR EXPLAINED


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So, before we elaborate on the latest in DVIR, it’s time for a quick refresher. Over time, it’s possible that inspection reports have become second nature, but don’t let that lead to complacency. Remember that a daily record — conducted by each driver and of every vehicle — is a requirement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

So, while your employees may not want to take the time to keep updated with this process, it is quite literally mandatory by law. Until a report is ready, you cannot be certain that a vehicle is safe to hit the road, and that might open the door for culpability if an incident does occur out there. It’s simply not worth the risk to allow a driver to head out without having at least the safety net of a DVIR to provide the minimum amount of protection you need to have peace of mind about each trip.

At its most basic level, an inspection report should answer the fundamental questions raised about the condition of a vehicle. For example:

  • Do key parts like the windshield wipers and lights function properly?

  • Are the tires in decent shape and properly inflated?

  • Does the vehicle have any leaks, defects or other items that require attention before the trip begins?

The full list of concerns is quite exhaustive, but the point stands that the level of detail on a DVIR runs deep. It has to, in order to serve its purpose as both legal document and safety precaution.

Whenever a driver takes a vehicle out without one, he or she is — knowingly or not — putting the long-term reputation of your business on the line. Sure, it’s easy to write DVIR off as a mere formality and breeze through the steps without much care or regard for accuracy, especially when you’re burdened with having to fill out and submit paper copies of each day’s reports.

Then, as the fleet manager, it’s your job to try and make sense of it all. Of course, some drivers are going to waive their DVIR just so that they can keep up.

But vehicular collisions occur every day. If an incident does occur, it’s up to you to ensure that your company and its drivers have met at least the simplest requirements expected of them. That mean having an updated DVIR file, and such a prospect is far less headache-inducing if the records in question are of the digital variety, not the paper kind.

Before the technology to streamline this process was made readily available, it’s only natural that paper-based DVIR would reign supreme. In any case, we are in a new age. DVIR is clearly a key part of your business. So, if you must comply with regulations, there’s no reason why doing so has to be so convoluted. eDVIR may be the new kid on the block, but we’re willing to bet that you’ll hop aboard the digital train once you have a bit more information on hand.

GOING DIGITAL



At face value, the eDVIR process isn’t that much different than the traditional way of doing things. Drivers still complete and submit daily reports so that you can keep them on file. The inspection points themselves are largely the same, and the protections they provide have never been more pertinent to the long-term prospects of your business.

What does change — quite drastically, we might add — is how you complete and submit reports. With a fully digital system, drivers no longer need to deal with lengthy inspection forms. Instead, these can be customized to only include the fields you need or rearranged to suit your needs. Then, they are submitted instantaneously using a cloud-based interface, allowing managers like you access to inspection reports in real time.

We have already demonstrated that DVIR is a requirement of your business, and eDVIR at least makes it easy to open the lines of communication and stay in the know with your team.

Moreover, fully electronic inspection reports give you the chance to organize your DVIR records and streamline your processes on the back end. Piles of paperwork can become tiresome quickly, but eDVIR strips all of those concerns and streamlines this critical part of your business to the point that you won’t have to worry about a thing.

In the event that one of your drivers is involved in an accident or some other incident, electronic files will be far easier to access than the old paper forms.

After all, compliance is a real hot-button issue these days, and the last thing you want is for your DVIR files to be incomplete or out of date. eDVIR ensures that this doesn’t happen and that you’re prepared for any circumstances that may come your way.

You’ll even be able to run fully customized reports to uncover opportunities for growth or to identify trends within your business that can pinpoint ways to cut costs or otherwise boost productivity. Even without this added benefit, digital files should already minimize the amount of human errors present in eDVIR, leading to greater accuracy and a higher overall quality of work.

While it is only now starting to gain traction, eDVIR is fast becoming the standard-bearer in your industry. With so many administrative duties in your hands, we’re sure that you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty in the simplicity that is eDVIR. Cleaner inspection forms and real-time submissions alone are game-changers, long before you factor in the many ways in which eDVIR can serve your company better than traditional DVIR ever did.

Less hassle and more efficiency just for bringing your DVIR system into the modern age? That’s not a bad trade-off any way you look at it, but the real clincher for your company will likely be how eDVIR makes it so easy to satisfy regulation and maximize protections for all involved. This is a gift in and of itself, one which you would be wise to at least consider before retreating to the outdated system you know.

BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGICAL UPGRADE

If you’re still on the fence about taking the leap into eDVIR, we’ve got you covered. Let’s briefly run through some of the most integral advantages of using this digital format instead of relying on paperwork.

  • Work faster: Because you can customize forms and automatically store and organize completed inspection reports, your drivers will able to log in, run through the inspection points they need to hit and get out without having to waste precious minutes fiddling with paperwork or risk losing the completed form before it’s ever turned in. The entire process is streamlined from top to bottom, and there’s no telling how much of a difference you’ll witness once you integrate eDVIR into your business. Time, as they say, is money. The resources you’ll save with this new process is easily among the best elements of it all.

  • Simplified reporting: Noticing a pattern here? eDVIR doesn’t only streamline — and thus expedite — the inspection process itself, but this same benefit extends to the reporting module as well. If your company is ever audited, you’ll need to be ready to present months’ worth of inspection reports. With digital copies, you’ll be able to access them at a moment’s notice. In fact, you can even customize specific reports based on your own parameters, saving you the time of having to sift through piles of paperwork just to (hopefully) identify what you’re looking for.

  • More open communication: Across the board, one of the most impactful ways in which technology has changed our world is in how we communicate. Case in point, with fully digital eDVIR, you can communicate with your drivers instantly. Any submitted inspection forms will be easily accessible, and the maintenance team can begin preparing to address any action items discovered during inspection. You can even submit photos through the system for further proof or clarification. Whereas you once had to wait until your driver returned to accept the report and finalize maintenance plans, you can now plan ahead and use your resources more strategically.

  • Fewer errors: Say goodbye to those days of having to decipher one of your driver’s handwriting or struggling to make sense of a completed inspection report. With eDVIR, it is so much easier to review a report and acknowledge next steps well before intervention is needed. In addition, the ability to customize forms keeps the reports lean and makes it far less likely that a driver will make a mistake. Human error is unavoidable to some degree, but now you can greatly reduce the chances of a major mistake slipping through the cracks. Such a mishap could damage your business and your reputation, if it goes unchecked. Don’t leave your company’s well-being to happenstance.

  • Incredible mobility: By now, we’ve acknowledged that eDVIR uses the cloud to upload and share information, but let’s emphasize it once more. This system, of course, works for either iOS or Android and on any mobile device, be it smartphone or tablet. Because your drivers travel all over the place, the need to access the system from anywhere is obviously much greater. Thankfully, eDVIR accommodates this, making it a breeze to log in no matter where you are.

FAREWELL TO PAPER




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Simply, eDVIR provides a host of benefits that could very well help your business function more smoothly and present the possibility for even more improvements ahead for your business. Though the technology itself is still relatively new, many companies like yours have already seen much success with it, crediting eDVIR for increased productivity, greater accuracy in their records and more accountability on the part of their drivers.

The inspection reports themselves may be digital, but the effect of this new process on business operations is very tangible indeed. Is it any wonder then why eDVIR continues to be heralded as the future of inspection reports? No matter what metric one turns to for success, eDVIR appears poised to facilitate it.

That’s why Whip Around has invested heavily in our eDVIR product. Our easy-to-use system allows complete autonomy and customization of the inspection process. Regardless of how you want to configure your inspection form, Whip Around can make it happen, saving you countless man-hours and ensuring that your drivers stay focused on the job at hand.

Anywhere you are, you’ll be able to manage inspection reports with the touch of a button. Imagine the flexibility of being able to access these DVIR from your mobile device, not to mention the detailed analytics that accompany such digital files.

You’re just one click away from finding a better way to manage your fleet. For more information on how Whip Around can help you, get started FREE 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 is DVIR (Driver Vehicle Inspection Report)?

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It's that pesky form you have to fill out before you go on a haul. For some truck drivers it's the bane of their existence. In fact, some drivers will avoid it at all costs. It’s that frustrating, time-consuming task known as the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR).

You may be wondering:

  • What is it?

  • What’s the big deal about them?

  • Can DVIRs benefit you, or are they just a government required nuisance?

  • How can you get them done faster?

We’ll cover all this and more in this post. Fasten your seatbelts, and let’s get this show on the road.

WHAT IS DVIR?

The DVIR is the formal record, be it on paper or paperless, that confirms a driver has thoroughly inspected their commercial motor vehicle before taking it on out on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), completing a DVIR is required for each vehicle every day the vehicle is in use.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT DVIR ANYWAY?

Why is it that some people like the Department of Transportation, your boss, fleet manager, etc…, get bent out of shape about whether or not you’ve done your DVIR before you drive your commercial vehicle? Perhaps it’s because the DVIR is what lets you know if your vehicle is road-ready.

By not completing it, you can't be certain as to whether or not your vehicle is safe to be on the road. And the truth is, there are many things that can cause your commercial vehicle to be unsafe on the road. To put it bluntly, every time you go out without inspecting your vehicle for defects or faults, you are putting yourself and others at risk.

WHAT TYPES OF THINGS SHOULD YOU BE CHECKING FOR IN YOUR DVIR?

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At a minimum your DVIR should include inspection of the following parts and accessories:

(i) Windshield, windshield wiper, sun visor and mirror

  • Do the wipers work correctly?

  • Is the windshield clean and not cracked?

  • Are you confident the wiper blades are not damaged?

  • Is the washer fluid container full?

  • Is your windshield washer fluid operating correctly?

(ii) Lights and indicators

  • Are all lights work correctly including hazard lights?

  • What about the lenses? Are they clean, free from discoloration, and not cracked?

(iii) Left wheels and tires

  • Are your tires correctly inflated, and not damaged?

  • Are the wheel nuts on them tight?

  • Did you check that there are no cuts or bulges in the tire’s side walls?

  • Is your tread path adequate?

(iv) Are there any fluid leaks on the left side of the vehicle from the engine, fuel system, waste water tank or any other part?

(v) Reflectors, toe coupling, tail lights, indicators and air hoses

  • Are all of these fitted, working, clean and not damaged?

(vi) Are there any fluid leaks on the right side of the vehicle from the engine, fuel system, waste water tank or any other part?

(vii) Right wheels and tires - check for the same things you looked for on the left side tires:

  • Tires are correctly inflated and not damaged

  • Wheel nuts are tight

  • No cuts or bulges

  • Adequate tread path

(viii) Doors and seat belts

  • Do all doors open and close fully? Check the left side, right side and back doors. You also want to make sure all locks and latches work correctly too.

  • Is the fire extinguisher serviced and ready for use?

  • What about your seat belts? Are those working properly?

(ix) Horn and speedometer

  • Is the horn working correctly?

  • Is the speedometer is working properly?

(x) Additional things to check before heading off on a haul:

  • Do you have any trouble steering the vehicle?

  • Are there any apparent air leaks anywhere?

  • Does the vehicle come to a full and complete stop when you apply the brakes?

  • Are all switches and warnings operating adequately?

  • Do you have sufficient fuel to complete your trip?

CAN DVIR’S ACTUALLY BENEFIT YOU, OR ARE THEY JUST A GOVERNMENT REQUIRED NUISANCE?

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When it comes to DVIR’s, it can sometimes feel as though the paperwork you're being required to complete is nothing more than a pain in the neck that government bureaucrats who don’t understand your job are enforcing just to give you a headache. You might even start to feel like they aren’t something that's really necessary unless your boss forces you to do it. This can feel especially true if you have been driving regularly for months or even years at a time without an incident.

However, if you're ever in a situation where your vehicle is not road-ready, and an incident does occur, you'll instantly understand why doing the DVIR is so critical not just for yourself, but for the safety of everybody on the road. Of course, we hope you never have to experience the potential fallout of driving an unsafe vehicle. Still, we thought we’d share just a few things that could happen should you blow off this task that you might feel is simply a waste of your time.

YOU COULD WRECK YOUR VEHICLE, AND BE FOUND AT FAULT.

Accidents happen everyday, and to be honest, not all of them, if any, will be your fault. Then again, there are many accidents that could have been prevented, and could cause you to be found at fault. Just a few examples where the truck driver could be found at fault for the accident include:

  • A brake failure that resulted in a wreck, because you didn’t notice that your brake fluid was leaking, and now your brakes have stopped working because the fluid ran dry. (A brake problem was even listed as one of the 10 most common causes of an accident when the commercial vehicle was determined to be at fault, according to Simmons and Fletcher, P.C.)

  • A fault in one of your tires led to a blow out, and you swerved into another lane as a result.

  • Your windshield had a small crack, that turned into a big one thanks to a bump in the road. It then impaired your vision, and caused a wreck.

  • You didn’t check the back latch on your vehicle, and while driving down the road at full speed, your entire haul flew out the back of the truck impaling several vehicles, and causing massive damage.

Think these incidents could never happen to you? Think again. Not only are they possible, they have happened, and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

And, if you haven’t completed a DVIR, when the cops investigate the incident, you could:

  • Be found at fault

  • Get a fine

  • Lose your commercial driver’s license

  • Be sued (or your company could)

  • Be fired

In some cases, all of the above could happen as a result of an accident.

YOU COULD KILL SOMEONE OR YOURSELF.

You might believe it’s a little far-fetched to think that failure to complete a DVIR could result in a death. But, consider this - The FMCSA compiled a report called “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts.” In the report they found, “There were 11.2 fatal large truck crashes per million people in the United States in 2015, a 6-percent increase from 2010.”

And, of those numbers they concluded: “Vehicle-related factors were coded for 6 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes and 3 percent of the passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes. ‘Other Working Vehicle’ and ‘Tires’ were the most common vehicle-related factors for large trucks in fatal crashes... ‘Tires’ was the most frequently coded vehicle-related factor for passenger vehicles in fatal crashes.”

While the odds are in your favor that you’ll never have to deal with a fatality as a result of an incident on the road, these numbers speak to the point that DVIRs are not just a waste of time. They are there to help you find small problems before they have the chance to become big ones.

What vehicle-related factors are you overlooking every time you skip a pre-trip inspection?

WHAT ARE THE FEDERAL REGULATIONS FOR DVIRS?

According to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, here are some of the rules as they are related to DVIRs:

  • Every motor carrier shall require its drivers to report, and every driver shall prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day's work on each vehicle operated, except for intermodal equipment tendered by an intermodal equipment provider.

  • The report must identify the vehicle and list any defect or deficiency discovered by or reported to the driver which would affect the safety of operation of the vehicle or result in its mechanical breakdown.

  • The driver must sign the report.

  • Prior to requiring or permitting a driver to operate a vehicle, every motor carrier or its agent shall repair any defect or deficiency listed on the driver vehicle inspection report which would be likely to affect the safety of operation of the vehicle.

  • Every motor carrier shall maintain the original driver vehicle inspection report, the certification of repairs, and the certification of the driver's review for three months from the date the written report was prepared.

If you drive a commercial vehicle, you should be completing DVIRs. And, if your company is not enforcing this, your vehicle is not in compliance with federal regulations. This could result in fines, lost wages, and other inconveniences for you and/or your company.

HOW CAN COMPLETING YOUR DVIRS BENEFIT YOU OR YOUR COMPANY?

Being compliant with federal regulations can keep your truck on the road. Every day that your vehicle isn’t on the road can cost as much as $1,000 or more. In other words, completing your DVIR could save your day’s wages.

For example. if you’re pulled over for a roadside inspection and have not completed a DVIR, it could lead to a more thorough inspection by the DOT. If they find any faults your truck could be taken off the road until the repairs can be made. The longer those repairs take, the longer you are losing money.

Another benefit of completing DVIRs is that your company will save money. Every time they learn of a problem with a vehicle, it will be repaired and get back on the road that much faster. Smaller problems cost less time and money to fix, and this will give your company’s bottom line a boost. That makes for happier bosses and managers, and ultimately happier employees.

When companies enforce completion of DVIRs they can also save money on insurance premiums. Having those DVIRs in hand is auditable proof to an insurance provider that the vehicles in a fleet are being maintained, and are as safe as they can be on the road.

HOW CAN YOU GET A DVIR DONE FASTER?

Perhaps by now we have finally convinced you that you should be doing DVIRs regularly. Great! But, now you’re trying to figure out how to get them done faster. We get it! Time is money, and completing a DVIR takes time. And, if you’re using a paper based system, you’re wasting a lot more time and resources than necessary. All that ink, all those copies, all that paperwork...it’s unnecessary.

Enter Whip Around. Founded in January 2015, Whip Around is a mobile-based application that makes DVIR compliance quick and easy. Using a mobile device, you can simply pull up a pre-trip inspection form, fill it out with a few clicks, and then instantly submit it to your fleet manager. You can even report defects and faulty equipment within the platform, and you’ll be prompted to take a photo and add a comment to explain the issue.

The basic report installed with the application comes with the bare essentials of what you need to inspect a vehicle to be road ready. However, your fleet manager can also add their own inspection items to it in order to ensure everything is in tip-top shape before drivers go out on the road.

Once a DVIR is submitted, your fleet manager can assign the vehicle for repairs. Or, if everything checks out, you can hop on the road confident that your vehicle is safe. No paper, no hassle, just quick inspections, and instant submission. Being compliant with DVIRs has never been easier.

GET STARTED WITH WHIP AROUND TODAY!

Want to try out Whip Around for yourself? You can get started with a freemium account as soon as today. Click here to learn more about Whip Around’s features, or click here to create an account now.

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!

Is Technology Making DVIR's Better or Worse?

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Driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIR), sometimes called pre-trip inspections, are a staple in every driver and fleet manager’s life. They can also become a perennial source of stress. So is technology making these reports easier? The answer is a resounding yes! Let’s take a look at some of the concerns about how technology is affecting all of our lives, then assess whether these issues extend to DVIRs.

IS TECHNOLOGY MAKING OUR LIVES BETTER?

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A generation or two ago, people would have marveled at the notion of instantaneous communication at the press of a button. Gone are the days of having to go to the library, waiting endless weeks for a response to a letter, and paying massive long distance phone bills. It seems we should all have lots more time, tons more money, and better lives overall.

Yet technology, for most of us, has not delivered on its promise of greater convenience. The rapid turnaround of email, instant messaging, and social media has primed us all to expect immediate responses. We want to hear from people yesterday. The result is a state of perennial stress and constant frazzle. We all feel the need to be constantly plugged in and responsive. We can’t sit back and enjoy a conversation, or even sleep, without checking our phones.

The technologies that promised to make our lives easier have instead made us all chronically, constantly, endlessly busy. The headlines and research are predictable, and alarming:

  • Technology is making us less social, because we are forgetting how to have conversations in real time.

  • Smartphones are crushing creativity. Creativity depends on having time during which the mind can wander in boredom. Now that everyone picks up their phone whenever they’re bored, we all spend less time daydreaming and thinking creatively.

  • Technology is increasingly linked to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and a host of other ills. Teenagers who spend less time in front of screens tend to be happier.

  • Technology distracts us from our real lives. Whether it’s fake news getting us angry about things that didn’t happen or Facebook notifications pulling us away from dinner, people are increasingly addicted to the virtual world, and increasingly disconnected from the real one.

  • Technology makes us less productive, by making us feel productive even when we’re not doing anything at all. It can distract us from what matters, and might even make us less intelligent.

  • We feel like we have lots of friends because of social media, but we may have fewer connections that actually matter to us.

  • We can shelter ourselves from challenging ideas, which makes it more difficult for us to understand other people, empathize with different views, and change our minds.

Of course, much of this can be overcome by controlling the role digital media plays in our lives and carefully monitoring our own use of technology. That’s easier said than done, though, and for many people, trying to control their use of technology just becomes one more impossible and time-consuming task on a seemingly endless to-do list.

THE PROBLEM WITH DVIR FORMS

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DVIR forms might be one of the few exceptions to the challenging realities of technology. The old-fashioned approach to DVIR forms just doesn’t work, because it creates an endless pile of paperwork. The law says that every fleet must inspect its vehicles before driving them. You can design your own forms, so long as they maintain basic mechanical information and details about recent inspections.

It’s a reasonable requirement designed to keep your drivers safe, protect motorists, and ensure that companies take dangerous vehicles off the road. The problem is that this requirement can also create a ton of stress for owners, operators, drivers, and anyone else who has to grapple daily with regulatory issues.

Before we explore how switching to digital DVIR forms can make your life better, let’s consider some of the challenges drivers, fleet managers, and owners face in complying with DVIR laws.

THE CHALLENGE OF FULL COMPLIANCE

DVIR are not supposed to be cursory overviews. Nor are drivers supposed to check off each box on the form as a matter of course. These forms are critical for driver safety, and for the safety of other vehicles on the road. To fully comply with the law, your drivers must physically inspect each vehicle, and honestly report any defects or mechanical difficulties. You must then address these issues before the vehicle goes back on the road.

As a practical matter, this creates significant burdens for drivers, owners, and managers. That’s doubly true when you must meet tight deadlines. The temptation to ignore vehicle defects can be overwhelming. But of course, that subjects you to potential fines, put your drivers in danger, and can render you liable if there’s an accident and you are sued.

It’s a tough line, and one which many fleet operators don’t talk about. Yet it must be addressed: this paperwork burden is real, overwhelming, and costly.

SUPERVISORY ISSUES

No driver wants to waste their time inspecting a vehicle, especially if there’s a very real risk that this vehicle must then be taken off of the road. That means managers must oversee inspections. This can be an incredibly taxing and time-consuming undertaking.

Not only must managers continually nag drivers to do their forms. They must also find ways to balance this burden against the other burdens of their job. Consider the following:

  • Managers might not want to take time off of work, and owners might be reluctant to give managers vacation time.

  • Managers may need to be physically present to ensure that drivers comply with inspection requirements.

  • Managers are turned into the bad guys, perpetually hounding annoyed drivers who just want to get out on the road.

It’s a task no one wants to undertake, but one which the law demands.

TIME CONSTRAINTS

Most fleets operate under significant time constraints. Your drivers need to get from point A to point B, and to maximize your profits, they must do so quickly. DVIRs slow down the process -- especially when there’s a problem. They force drivers to wait to get on the road, delay deliveries, and subject businesses to uncertainty as they await repairs and replacement parts.

This can have real effects on your operations. The fewer vehicles you operate, the more pronounced those effects will be, since a single out of commission vehicle can require you to alter your entire schedule.

A single DVIR can have a ripple effect: the report delays a delivery, and an identified problem requires the delivery to be further delayed or canceled. This delays other deliveries, or requires drivers of other vehicles to move more quickly.

Over time, this can erode your reputation with your customers, tempt drivers to drive too quickly, and cost lots of money. It’s nearly impossible to plan for the unanticipated time constraints of DVIRs, leaving managers to deal with stress and continual schedule changes.

PAPER MANAGEMENT

Under the law, fleets must retain DVIR forms for a minimum of three months. For many fleet managers, especially those operating large fleets, it makes sense to retain these forms much longer. Doing so can help you monitor trends over time, support insurance claims, and even serve as evidence of vehicle maintenance if you are ever sued.

The problem is that these forms quickly create an avalanche of paper. You’ll quickly accumulate hundreds -- or thousands, or hundreds of thousands, depending on the size of your fleet -- of forms. Even if you’re able to neatly stack them in a box, how will you find the paperwork you need. If you’re like most managers, you'll end up with an office filled with useless paper, and find yourself on the verge of panic if you ever need to locate a specific form.

DVIR FORMS: HOW TECHNOLOGY MAKES IT ALL BETTER




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Technology can make life stressful. If you’re already dealing with the stress of operating a fleet, the last thing you want to do is add to your stress burden. But DVIR forms in digital format can actually reduce your stress load -- really.

So why should you consider switching to online forms? Consider the following:

  • You’ll never again have to deal with an avalanche of paperwork. If you need something, it’s there and searchable. No more banker’s boxes. No more piles of paper in your office. No more fines for noncompliance or lost papers. This means less stress, more time to do what you want, and full documentation of everything related to DVIRs.

  • Digital inspection forms save time. Everything you need is readily accessible -- no need to go digging through your office, deal with outdated forms, or wonder what happened to page two.

  • Digital inspection forms eliminate perfunctory inspections. Designing your own forms allows you to ask questions that force drivers to conduct physical inspections that keep everyone safe -- not just check off a bunch of boxes.

  • Digital inspection forms free managers to view forms wherever they are. This can empower them to take vacations, take time off when they're sick, and trust that everything is operating smoothly even in their absence.

  • Digital DVIR forms save money. You won't pay non compliance fines, have to worry about missed vehicle repairs, have to pay for a storage space to store your paperwork, or invest in a substitute manager to hound drivers on the manager’s day off. For many companies, this adds up to thousands of dollars in savings over time -- not to mention the reduction in stress.

  • Digital DVIR forms give everyone more time. Time is money. When managers are freed up to do other tasks, they can help the company earn more money, fulfill other job duties, and enjoy their free time.

WHAT WHIP AROUND OFFERS

Whip Around takes the convenience of digital DVIR forms to the next level. Ideal for fleets of any size, we make the process of pre-trip inspections seamless:

  • Build customized, attractive forms in just minutes. We help you build forms specific to the needs of your fleet, that still comply with the law. Take just a few minutes and witness how easy it is to build forms that drivers understand, and that encourage them to take inspections seriously.

  • Access DVIR forms anywhere. Our mobile inspection forms mean that drivers can inspect a vehicle using just their smartphone. And managers can review inspections and other important reports no matter where they are.

  • Manage flagged faults wherever you are. You can take action on inspection reports effortlessly, noting where the vehicle is in the repair process and assigning repairs to the mechanic of your choice.

  • Create individual profiles and teams for drivers, allowing you to manage them wherever they are and wherever you are.

  • Extensive administrative controls. Add users and assign permissions as needed. Don’t worry about compromised data.

  • Extreme reliability. With up time of greater than 99.99%, you don’t have to worry about an outage meaning you can’t access your data.

  • Maintain detailed analytics about your vehicles. This allows you to track changes over time, and potentially to gather important pieces of data -- such as which drivers tend to have the most and fewest vehicle issues, and which vehicles cost the most to repair.

HOW WHIP AROUND IMPROVES QUALITY OF LIFE

Whip Around is more than just a useful tool. It’s a way to improve productivity, cultivate success, and improve everyone's quality of life. Our goal is to help you get more done more quickly, so you can focus on building your company, managing your staff, and enjoying your life.

Once you’re set up with Whip Around:

  • You’ll have more time for company projects, time with your family, or getting to know your drivers.

  • You’ll have fewer compliance issues. That means more money and less stress.

  • You won’t have to constantly be in the office overseeing drivers. Take a vacation. Visit your clients. Develop a new marketing plan. Enjoy your freedom.

  • You’ll have everything available when you need it, and can retain records for years.

We make fleet management easier, and alleviate stress for drivers, managers, owners, and mechanics. We’re so convinced you’ll love what we have to offer that we offer free accounts and extensive support  to get set up. There’s no obligation -- only a chance to better manage your fleet.

Ready to give it a try?

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.

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.