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March 06, 2018

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.

 

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