Photo of a man checking permit

Commercial truck drivers are obligated to inspect their vehicles each day before heading out on the road & after completing a trip. They must make sure their trucks are working perfectly before driving, and if they don’t, the consequences may be great.

What Are Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR’s)?

If you are driving a commercial truck, you are legally required to fill in a formal Driver Safety Vehicle Inspection Report daily. These reports ensure that a vehicle is operable and that your drivers, cargo, and the public will be safe. The reports are required under 49 CFR 396.11 and 396.13 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The FMCSA is responsible for the enforcement of this rule.

To ensure that the vehicle is in appropriate condition, it is important to conduct a pre-trip and post-trip inspection. This will help you keep track of any problems, but it also allows you to stay compliant with all DOT/FMCSA regulations. These reports will be filed electronically.

A commercial vehicle DVIR must be kept on-site by the motor carrier for a minimum of 3 months after submitting the report. Simplex Group will ensure that your Driver Vehicle Inspection Report records are kept up to date. Vehicle inspections are one of the first things an auditor will look for when they come to do your new entrant safety audit.

Like construction safety, trucking safety is highly regulated. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has designed the inspection report that you will fill out to cover anything that might go wrong during a trip. A commercial motor vehicle must be in perfect condition every time it hits the road. The DVIR form must be filled out thoroughly. This can be done on a driver’s Electronic Logging Device.

What Vehicle Parts Are Listed on These Inspection Reports?

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Parking (hand) brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Rims
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear-vision mirrors
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels 
  • Emergency equipment

Penalties for non-compliance with safety inspection rules are very severe. You can incur fees of up to $1,270 per day for failure to complete a DVIR report. If a motor carrier falsifies a report and hides a defect, they can be fined as much as $12,700. If you fail to repair a reported defect, you can be fined up to $15,420. 

Simplex Group will help you ensure that your electronic inspection reports are accurate and stored properly. We want you to succeed and stay compliant at all times. We understand the severity of missed inspection reports for motor carriers and will send you an electronic notification if you are missing a report.

How Does It Work?

Step 1 – Inspect the vehicles

The driver has to conduct a pre-trip inspection and fill out a vehicle inspection report DVIR before hitting the road. The inspection includes assessing any identified defects and examining if the vehicle is ready to depart. It is important to increase safety awareness amongst your drivers to fill out their reports properly.

A post-trip inspection needs to be done after the trip is completed. Post-trip inspections are just as important as pre-trip reports, and Simplex Group will ensure that your reports are filled out properly and stored in an electronic system for three months.

Step 2 – Report any defects

If the vehicle has any faults, they should be reported. The driver’s vehicle inspection report must be thorough enough that the mechanic repairing will know what to look for and how to fix it. 

Step 3 – Sign the report

When the inspection reports are completed, they should be signed by the driver and sent over to the fleet manager, who will review them for accuracy.

Any report must include the date and the information on the vehicle identity, such as the fleet unit number, license plate number, and VIN. 

Step 4 – Certify repairs

Carriers must have any repairs done before the vehicle is driven. The repairs must be certified once they are completed.

How Your ELD Can Help You With Maintenance

You may think your electronic logging devices are just a way for drivers to track the hours they have worked. However, they are good for so much more. 

High-end ELDs can function as a GPS; they can also help you with safety and maintenance: Because they plug into a vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port. They can find engine data such as fault code. You can use the phone app that comes with your ELD to complete DVIRs. 

Some ELDs have a built-in gyroscope and accelerometer that can detect harsh braking, difficult turning, and accidents. An ELD can monitor how much gas a vehicle is using. A vehicle that guzzles gas may have very serious mechanical problems. If you catch them in time, you may be able to prevent an accident from happening.

In some cases, you can use data from an ELD as evidence in court. The records can establish the actions that your driver took just before a collision.

Understanding DVIR Regulations

Under the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s law, all commercial vehicles must perform DVIRs every day. Truck drivers may travel 1000 miles a day for 11 hours in a vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds. 

Even if a truck looks fine right before a driver leaves for the day, many things can happen on the road in the course of a trip. Unsafe or missing equipment can cause accidents. 

Trucking accidents can cause major damage to roads and involve many vehicles, resulting in severe injury and death. Traffic may be congested for hours or even days after a trucking accident. If a truck spills hazardous materials, it can result in major fines.

What Kinds of Trucks Must Follow DVIR Rules?

The inspection requirements apply to commercial trucks and buses weighing over 1,000 pounds. Vehicles that carry hazardous materials that require placards, buses, and other passenger-carrying vehicles designed to carry 9 or more passengers must also perform these inspections. 

A lack of DVIR compliance can also cause you to fail a roadside inspection which can result in fees and other corrective actions.

Simplex Group can assist you with tips to improve safety training. It is important to be aware of equipment issues that need to be addressed during an inspection.

DVIR Exemptions

If you are a trucking company with more than one vehicle, you will have to fill out a DVIR or form every day for every truck. Companies that operate only one vehicle do not have to comply with these rules. 

Safety awareness can benefit your company greatly. In 2014, the FMCSA decided that single drivers will no longer have to submit reports if zero faults or defects are detected.

Moving trucks and other property-carrying vehicles have to complete a report whenever someone reports a safety-related defect to the driver or the company they work for. Most moving companies require their drivers to complete a DVIR report before and after a trip anyway. Daily vehicle inspections are always a good idea. 

Simplex Group has years of experience in creating and storing pre and post-trip electronic DVIRs. We make things easier for fleet managers, drivers, and owner-operators. We want to make your success worry-free. Give us a call today.