Work orders are the backbone of any operation's maintenance management system. Breakdowns happen, even with the best maintenance practices, and the more asset-intensive the operation is, the more important it becomes to use a work order process which minimizes downtime. Learn more about work order software.
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?
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?
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)
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.
Let’s be honest. The level of inherent risk involved means that you need to do your due diligence before sending a fleet of vehicles out there. Should disaster strike on the road or elsewhere during a job, it’s your business and your reputation that is bound to suffer. This is precisely why pre-trip vehicle inspections are such an essential part of your day-to-day operation.
While it may be tempting to forgo this process in favor of simply boosting productivity, to do so just may make all the difference if something does go wrong out there. Still on the fence? Let’s introduce our secret weapon: fleet vehicle inspection software. There’s no better way to take your business into the modern age than to install a faster, more accessible way of delivering inspection reports.
Sure, pre-trip vehicle inspections may cut into your time and seemingly have an adverse effect on your business’s efficiency. However, maybe you’ve just been approaching this necessary part of your workflow the wrong way. After all, embarking on a constant search for improvement opportunities is a sure way to maximize your long-term chances of success.
In the case of how you manage your fleet, working smarter — and not harder, as the adage goes — can begin with streamlining your inspection process. Fleet vehicle inspection software is the easiest way to transform your business, lending a new level of performance that will undoubtedly result in better service and smoother operations across the board. Without further delay, let’s discuss exactly how Whip Around’s fleet vehicle inspection software can help.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE STATUS QUO
A pre-trip inspection is customary for anyone holding a commercial driver’s license. So we shouldn’t need to stress the level of detail that normally goes into the process. With all the safety steps and routine maintenance involved, performing such an inspection before each and every trip can become tedious for even the most seasoned driver.
Yet, the potential for something to go wrong exponentially increases whenever a given vehicle is put to work for long stretches of time or racks up a high level of mileage. So, in actuality, pre-trip inspections actually become more important over time, and this growing necessity only underscores the big-picture value in eliminating the headaches that so often accompany the tried-and-true way of conducting vehicle inspections.
The likelihood of a driver deciding to overlook or just skip an inspection for the sake of time is just not worth the possibility of an accident or other mishap.
But the reality is that the time it takes to thoroughly inspect a vehicle, fill out an inspection form and effectively communicate the results to a manager can have a profound effect on a driver’s ability to perform the job to the best of their ability. In the end, this leaves businesses like yours with one simple but critical question to face.
Forgo the pre-trip vehicle inspection — a highly dangerous move we strongly advise against — or find a new way of reaching the same thorough results as in the current process. Using vehicle inspection software certainly falls in the latter (and far safer) category, giving your business the opportunity to catch up with the changing times and ensure that the vehicle in question is ready for another day out on the road.
The only issue you may initially face is figuring out how your new software system functions. Thankfully, even this isn’t a problem with the right vehicle inspection tool at your disposal.
INTRODUCING VEHICLE INSPECTION SOFTWARE
So you’ve decided that a change is most definitely in order. But what exactly is vehicle inspection software, and how steep is the learning curve to implement it? Before we get to that second part, let’s address the first one. Fleet vehicle inspection software provides fleet managers and drivers with the cloud-based tool they need to complete and submit fully customizable inspection forms from anywhere and at anytime.
Fully digital daily vehicle inspection reports mean that you’re able to go paperless and stay more organized than ever. As it currently stands, drivers need to keep blank copies of standard inspection forms on hand at all times, and even then, they still have to be troubled with filling out each one every day, ensuring that they filled them out satisfactorily.
Moreover, they then need to keep track of these hard copies and remember to bring them back to the office when they return to check in with you, their manager.
Fleet vehicle inspection software removes the guesswork in filling out hard copies of those pesky inspection forms, saving both time and money as a result. It’s simply an easier way of doing things, and the fact that inspection forms can be customized so that only active fields are included only makes the process that much quicker.
Now it’s done in one fell swoop, as drivers are able to complete and submit streamlined forms in a fraction of the time. So your fleet will be more focused on the task at hand and less bogged down by the tedium of administrative requirements. The ability to keep your team’s attention on its performance is itself a major distinguishing factor, speaking volumes about the impact vehicle inspection software can have on your business.
With any routine task, simplicity is essential, and fleet vehicles inspection software like Whip Around centers entirely on its easy-to-use interface.
FORM A SMOOTHER PICTURE
Vehicle inspections aren’t only a wise business practice but one that is actually required by law. The Department of Transportation dictates that commercial vehicles complete a form each day. This requirement acts as a safety precaution on behalf of the driver and all others on the road, but in the event that accident or some other unfortunate circumstance befalls the vehicle, it also acts as evidence that your vehicle was inspected and in top condition beforehand, minimizing liability.
We’ve already discussed how fleet vehicle inspection software takes those tired old inspection forms and goes digital with them. However, more than merely creating an alternative to the usual mountains of paperwork, this new process instantaneously saves progress on each report. So no data is ever lost, and there’s no chance of a completed form becoming lost in the shuffle or getting misfiled back at your home office.
If the unthinkable does occur, your company and your driver will be able to access the inspection form for that day in a matter of moments. Thanks to the cloud-based system, you will be able to bid farewell to the paperwork you once dreaded having to file in the first place. Even better, you’ll be demonstrating to your clients, your drivers and your industry that you are able and eager to remain in compliance with your vehicle inspections.
As technology continues to play an ever-larger role in our everyday lives and companies are falling victim to hacks and scams seemingly at every turn, creating a sense of transparency and maintaining a detailed record of your business activity is becoming less of a luxury and more of an exercise in common sense. Implementing digital vehicle inspection reports into your operation is, in the end, an easy way to accomplish just that.
THE MAGIC OF MOBILITY
The internet is truly an amazing thing. Thanks to the worldwide web and the network it provides, we live in a decidedly global world. Anyone can work from any organization across the planet from any other place without any detriment or disadvantage to his or her work. All they need is a solid internet connection or phone signal through which data can be transmitted, and any member of your team can engage with you at a moment’s notice.
No longer do workers have to be limited by their location, and fewer industries need this flexibility as much as yours does. Your drivers are already on the road and constantly moving from place to place. Just filling out an inspection form seems like more trouble than it’s worth, but now Whip Around’s fleet vehicle inspection software streamlines that process and removes the trouble of having to manually turn in the inspection forms after the fact.
Instead, drivers can perform inspections, reports maintenance issues and make repairs with no issue whatsoever. Through the magic of these new digital forms, you can stay 100% in the know about what your drivers are up to and be able to review the updated file on each vehicle right away. For all the reasons we’ve outlined above and so much more, this system creates an autonomous relationship for each of your drivers, empowering them to take action when needed and allowing them to take ownership on what needs to be done.
Too often, employees are hesitant to take accountability for fear that something will blow up in their faces or that a misunderstanding will emerge down the chain of command. However, in this case, drivers can take pride in their work with full knowledge that their actions are making an immediate difference in the day-to-day performance of their duties.
A ROAD PAVED WITH BENEFITS
As if we haven’t touted the benefits of fleet vehicle inspection software enough, let’s take another moment or two to summarize the many ways in which a system like ours can transform your process.
Save time: You’ll be able to trim away countless hours shuffling through needless paperwork, from completing overlong, over-complicated forms to filing them back in the office. Such an activity can really drag down your productivity. It is time for an upgrade.
Liberate your location: It’s not exactly telecommuting — a trend that more and more companies are exploring each year — but for your fleet of vehicles, being able to complete, submit and update your digital inspection forms in the cloud is the closest you will experience to it.
Speed it up: You and your drivers already have to face the doldrums of being on the road and the intense pressure of dealing with traffic, road construction and any of a million potential delays. But time remains, as always, of the essence. Now, with fleet vehicle inspection software, you can streamline your process so that you can move on to the next step.
Enhance performance: When you are able to expedite your business processes, you’re not only afforded with a tremendous time savings, but you have the opportunity to reach new service levels that you never would have been able to achieve. Step up your performance now, and your company will be poised for more success going forward.
Collect that data: Because the digital inspection forms house all the necessary data in one unified server in the cloud, you’ll be able to analyze data like never before. Create customized reports, and you never know what you’ll learn or what new opportunity for improvement you’ll uncover.
A COMPETITIVE EDGE
In today’s marketplace, you’ll need every advantage you can get. Don’t waste another moment clinging to antiquated business practices when your competitors are embracing a more streamlined approach. Vehicle inspection software can present you with the opportunity you need to keep your vehicles out in the field without sacrificing your managerial control or risking the safety of your drivers and the stability of your business.
This system will work wonders on your productivity, drastically cutting down on inspection times and keeping your drivers busier than ever before. In fact, you’ll probably wish that you had implemented fleet vehicle inspection software long ago, but don’t get too caught up in what might have been. Rather, focus on just how much better your business can be with this newfound resource in your corner.
The benefits we’ve discussed above should offer a compelling argument for why it’s worthwhile to consider introducing such a system into your existing business processes. Many options are already out there vying for your patronage, but with design and functionality specifically built with companies like yours in mind, we’re confident that Whip Around can not only meet your needs but exceed your expectations as well.
Time and again, our clients are wowed by the many ways in which fleet vehicle inspection software can revolutionize their previous process. Don’t struggle with your inspections when an easier way is just a few moments away. If you’re interested in learning more about how Whip Around works, check out our website for details on how you can get started now!