By Mary Motzko | November 4th, 2021 | | 0 Comments

Do your fleet drivers complete Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) before each route? The Department of Transportation mandates this to be completed on commercial motor vehicles, but it’s a practice you should consider for your fleet – even if it isn’t required.

RTA CEO Josh Turley, Fleet Hall of Famer Steve Saltzgiver, and former trucking executive Jeff Jenkins discussed the benefits of adopting a DVIR process at all fleet operations in a recent episode of the podcast, “The Fleet Success Show.”

At the beginning of the episode, the trio set the baseline for the conversation by explaining what a DVIR is, and its benefits.

A DVIR is a pre-trip vehicle inspection conducted by the vehicle’s driver. The driver performs a 15-minute inspection to check out certain areas of the asset (as detailed on the inspection form) to make sure everything functions as expected. If he finds a defect, he marks it on the form and notifies the shop.

Get a deeper explanation of DVIRs when you listen to the full podcast episode.

For CMVs that require pre-trip inspections, the DOT can check the inspection report if the vehicle is pulled over. According to Steve and Jeff, the most common areas the officers check are steering, brakes, tires, and the safety components to ensure your vehicle is safe to be on the road.

“It makes sense for a truck, there is a lot of mass,” Josh said. “The more mass you have, the faster you’re going, the stronger the impact it will have if there is an accident.”

While performing these inspections is mandated for some fleets, it has benefits for all operations. It not only keeps your drivers safe, but it also protects others on the roadways.

Even though this might seem like a no-brainer for your operation to adopt, Jeff and Steve revealed on the podcast that this process is not something a lot of drivers do – or want to do.

At a trucking operation Jeff worked at, they did an anonymous survey to find out how many drivers were actually performing inspections.

The results might surprise you.

“It’s between 20 and 30 percent, which is crazy,” said Jeff, who estimated that even that number might be inflated.

Why do so many drivers skip these inspections? It mainly comes down to time. The inspections take about 15 minutes to complete. For many, they’d rather just get on the road and start their route. Even if a DVIR is required, the driver might quickly mark that all items passed the inspection and submit the report.

Josh noticed this when collecting feedback from drivers on RTA’s eDVIR product, RTA Inspect.

“One of the feedback items we got from drivers was that it was taking too long (to complete the inspection form),” Josh said. “So, we’re sitting here thinking, how on earth is this taking too long? We realized it was because they couldn’t just pencil it in. They had to go through and check each item off individually (in the app). They couldn’t just draw a line through it.”

In addition to not wanting to take the time to complete the form, drivers might also skip the inspection to avoid needing to get repairs done. If they find a defect, it could mean spending time in the shop waiting for the vehicle to be repaired, or they might need to take a spare asset.

Learn more reasons for why drivers skip DVIRs when you listen to the full episode of the podcast.

To avoid this, drivers would rather just skip the inspection or indicate that everything passed without actually checking the components.

On the podcast, the hosts discussed how operations can convince drivers to complete a DVIR.

Steve suggested focusing on the safety benefits for the driver.

“(Inspections) make sure you’re not going to kill yourself or someone else on the road,” Steve said.

Jeff advised focusing on the overall time savings.

“It makes sure you’re not going to breakdown and be stuck on the side of the road,” Jeff said.

If that doesn’t work, Jeff said he used to just simply require the inspections to be completed.

“I set it up as a policy and said it’s required,” Jeff said. “Either you do it or you don’t have a job.”

Another benefit operations can use to entice drivers is the increased communication between them and the shop. By submitting the inspections, the drivers can prepare the shop for the upcoming repairs, and the shop can give drivers an accurate timeline for when the vehicle will be completed.

Listen to the full episode of “The Fleet Success Show” to learn more about DVIRs, common defects found, and the risks of not performing pre-trip inspections.