The next leg of your route is planned. The weather is perfect, and dispatch confirmed everything is OK. Bing, bang, boom, you’re ready to hit the road, right?

Wrong…

You need to conduct your vehicle inspections first.

Forgetting this crucial step can be damaging. For you, the trucking company, and other vehicles on the road. If caught skimping on your vehicle inspections, you could be slapped with thousands of dollars worth of penalties.

But vehicle inspections are important. That’s why we need to talk about DVIRs.

In this post, we’ll discuss all the important aspects of DVIRs. Pre-trip inspections. Post-trip inspections. DVIR regulations. You know, the essentials.

1. What is a DVIR?

A Driver Vehicle Inspection Report, or DVIR, is a formal record that confirms that a driver has completed a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inspection.

As a CMV driver, you need to carry out pre-trip vehicle inspections to start the day and post-trip checks to end the day. Add the information you obtained to a DVIR form.

DVIRs are vital. They ensure that daily vehicle inspections are conducted. That potential safety issues are identified. And that faulty vehicle components are fixed. DVIRs help keep vehicles in mint condition. They also help truckers comply with federal regulations.

Whether you complete a DVIR on paper or electronically, electronic DVIRs (eDVIRs) make the process more efficient. Especially if you’re using an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) with vehicle inspection functionalities.

Motor carriers must store the report for three months from the date of submission. Keep it at your place of business or wherever you park the vehicle.

2. What is a pre-trip inspection?

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough exam of your commercial vehicle, its components and its systems. The fuel tank, vehicle lights, tires, and other essentials get checked before each daily haul. Pre-trip inspections ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive and in good condition.

If you’re taking multi-day trips, perform a pre-trip inspection every day. A pre-trip inspection is pivotal to road safety and compliance. It takes about two minutes to complete, and since it protects you from violations, it’s worth every second of your time.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulation under the Federal Law 49 CFR 396.13 requires pre-trip examinations.

Non-compliance to the FMCSA regulation under the Department of Transport or DoT pre-trip inspection requirements can earn you hefty fines and lead to the loss of certifications and licenses.

3. What is a post-trip inspection?

Specified under the FMCSA Federal Law 49 CFR 396.11, a post-trip inspection is a commercial vehicle inspection that you must complete at the end of the workday.

If you operate more than one vehicle, you must complete separate DVIRs for each CMV.

Performing a post-trip inspection helps identify vehicle defects that may have occurred during your trip , along with repairs needed before the next workday. It also removes future delays that could seriously impact your delivery times and operations.

Record any vehicle issues you find and report defects to your fleet manager or motor carrier to ensure they are corrected and fixed.

Aside from safety and federal law compliance, conducting post-trip inspections has other benefits.

  • First, it gives mechanics enough time to repair vehicle damages and reduce delays.
  • Second, it gives you insight on how careful your drivers are when operating the vehicles. Lastly, you gain a better understanding of your vehicles’ health.

4. FMCSA DVIR regulations 

In the United States, the FMCSA requires completion of a driver vehicle inspection report specified under Federal Law 49 CFR 396.11 and 396.13 to ensure commercial motor vehicle and road safety and compliance.

Adhering to DVIR regulations also helps you avoid roadside DoT violations.

The regulation provides specific guidance regarding DVIR and the requirements for compliance. This includes what you need to do, what information should be in the vehicle inspection report, and who needs to submit DVIRs.

Get all the information about DVIR regulations on the FMCSA website and the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) site.

5. DVIR exemptions

The DVIR regulation provides exemptions to specific operators. These are driveaway-towaway, motor carriers with only one CMV, and private motor carriers that carry passengers but not as a business.

6. DVIR inspection checklist

A standard DVIR inspection checklist should include:

  • Steering mechanism
  • Brakes and air system
  • Wheels, tires, and rims
  • Reflectors and lights
  • Rearview mirrors
  • Windshield wipers
  • Safety and emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers and first-aid kits
  • Coupling equipment and fifth wheels
  • Power unit and trailer (if applicable)

These are just some of the basic components that should be in your DVIR. Check other parts of your vehicle equipment to ensure your truck is in good condition and safe for driving.

7. The four-step DVIR process

Completing a DVIR includes four basic steps:

  • Step 1: Vehicle inspection. During your examination, conduct a circle check of your vehicle by checking under the hood, walking around to find damage or defects, and starting the engine to test the brakes, lights, and other functions.
  • Step 2: Report defects. After completing the vehicle inspection, log and report deficiencies or defects that can lead to breakdowns or impact vehicle safety.
  • Step 3: Sign off. Sign off on your report and submit it to the motor carrier.
  • Step 4: Corrective action and repairs certification. Motor carriers should promptly fix and certify issues or defects identified in the DVIR that will affect safe vehicle operations.

Although the DVIR regulations specify what should be in a DVIR, it doesn’t exactly tell you how to fill out a DVIR form.

Make sure to include the following information in your DVIR:

  • The date
  • Vehicle identity such as the license plate number, fleet unit number, etc.
  • The signature of the driver who prepares the DVIR
  • The signature of the mechanic who fixed the vehicle
  • The signature of the authorized person who determined that a repair was unnecessary.
  • The signature of the next vehicle driver to acknowledge that the repairs were made or not needed.

8. Penalties for not completing a DVIR

What are the penalties for not completing a DVIR?

If you violate the DVIR requirements under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), you could face devastating penalties, including:

  • A maximum civil penalty of $1,270 a day for failing to complete a DVIR
  • A maximum civil penalty of $12,695 for knowingly falsifying, destroying, or changing DVIR records
  • A civil penalty not exceeding $15,419 for each non-recordkeeping violation

Aside from fees, there are other costs that result from failing to comply with DVIR regulations. 

For instance, if a DOT officer finds your vehicle unsafe during a roadside inspection, your truck will immediately be put out of commission until it’s repaired.

The downtime can cause revenue loss for the carrier. It can also cause the carrier’s CSA score to take a hit, leading to loss of business.

9. Carrier responsibilities

Before getting a vehicle back in service, motor carriers must certify repairs, replace missing and defective parts, and correct equipment deficiencies.

If there are no vehicle defects or issues that impact safe vehicle operations, carriers should indicate that repairs were not needed.

10. Driver responsibilities

DVIR responsibilities for the driver include:

  • Ensuring you perform complete circle checks
  • Making sure all safety round reports are on board the vehicle
  • Signing vehicle inspection reports that identified a vehicle defect or issue
  • Informing the trucking company owner or motor carrier of problems and defects promptly
  • Sending the motor carrier or owner copies of all DVIRs
  • Inspecting and signing off on any vehicle repairs

11. eDVIRs

An eDVIR or Electronic Driver Vehicle Inspection Report allows you to record, compile, and store DVIR information on electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets.

How eDVIRs Work

Data from eDVIRs are synced directly to a fleet management software through a mobile application.

The connection between the software and mobile app allows for secure information transfers. It enables quick and easy access for stakeholders such as drivers, fleet managers, and trucking company owners.

You can use the app to review and update your eDVIR anywhere and in real time. This helps motor carriers and fleets to have a centralized record of inspection history, allowing authorized users to monitor progress, pull reports quickly, and promptly address driver, vehicle, or equipment issues.

Benefits of using an eDVIR

While writing out your DVIR may take time, an eDVIR offers features that make the vehicle inspection process easy and efficient.

Here’s a more in-depth look at the advantages of using eDVIRs, including:

1. Improved efficiency

eDVIRs save you time on conducting vehicle inspections. They ensure you perform a proper inspection and pay attention to detail. Writing information to complete your DVIR requires two hands. It can be challenging to do while inspecting your vehicle at the same time. It’s hard to log information at the same time you’re checking battery connections and oil levels.

Using eDVIRs takes away these challenges. It gives you the convenience and accuracy of using a smartphone or tablet to record your DVIR data. You’ll get on the road faster, ensure your vehicle is safe for operations, and free up time for high-priority tasks.

2. Capture visual indications and details 

Using an eDVIR allows you to take photos of vehicle issues such as a torn tire tread or wire and upload them quickly for your supervisor to review.

Taking a photo of vehicle defects helps support your findings upon inspection. It makes it easy for you to record and provide precise details about issues that impact your vehicle’s safety and operations.

3. Reduced paperwork

Writing your DVIR on paper means cramming a lot of information into small spaces. This makes it challenging to keep your reports easy to read, leading to potential misinterpretation.

You can avoid this problem by using an eDVIR. Enter the information quickly with a few swipes and clicks on your mobile device or tablet.

eDVIRs also reduce the chances of submitting incorrect information. You can quickly correct the details before submitting your report, increasing your accountability and improving your report’s accuracy.

4. Quick troubleshooting

It’s impressive how eDVIRs let you send and transfer information quickly. Your fleet managers or supervisors won’t need to wait for a completed paper DVIR form to be updated and get a copy of your report.

They won’t need to worry about keeping paper DVIRs from getting damaged, lost, or physically compromised.

Additionally, eDVIRs make it easy for fleet supervisors and managers to take immediate action on serious issues or unusual entries during a vehicle inspection. This allows them to take a proactive approach and prevent potential vehicle operation downtimes.

5. Increase data visibility 

An eDVIR connected to fleet management software helps drivers and fleet managers stay on top of their records. It helps you log data efficiently, and managers have immediate access to every inspection detail in the system.

Most eDVIRs and vehicle fleet management software lets fleet managers set up custom reports and notifications when submitting inspection reports.

eDVIRs also allows fleet managers to:

  • Receive pre-trip and post-trip inspection reports in real-time
  • Create FMCSA-registered e-reports for trailers and tractors with ease
  • Quickly flag vehicles that might have missed or bypassed inspection reports
  • Reduce the risks of DVIR compliance violations

12. How Motive helps with customizable DVIRs

Ensure driver, road, and fleet safety and DVIR regulations compliance with the Motive customizable driver vehicle inspection report technology.

With the customizable vehicle inspection, you can assess your vehicle parts against the built-in checklist in the Motive Driver app, indicate the severity of the issue, and upload photos to include in your DVIR.

The customizable DVIR in Motive also lets fleet managers create an inspection process that works best for the fleet, allowing them to make inspections mandatory or make room for reporting flexibility.

The technology provides advanced reports that help managers analyze fleet vehicles’ health and maintenance trends to ensure smooth fleet operations.

If you want to experience firsthand how the Motive all-in-one fleet management solution can help your fleet become more efficient and productive, request a free demo.