When it comes to commercial transportation, few things are as important as the safety of the driver and their vehicle on the road. A major component of ensuring that safety is the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). DVIRs are completed and submitted to management at the beginning and end of each day following a driver’s pre-trip inspection of their commercial motor vehicle (CMV), in which the driver notes any issues with their vehicle.
DVIRs are a key component of a successful safety and compliance program, helping find mechanical problems before they cause incidents on the road. While in the past these reports were handwritten, more and more companies are digitizing DVIRs, which enables more efficient and direct communication between the driver, back-office personnel and the maintenance team, expediting the diagnosis and repair process should action be needed.
The Importance of DVIRs
The inspection of vehicles on the road and determining that they are safe to drive each and every day is extremely important to driver and public safety in an effort to prevent crashes. In 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimated that roadside inspections prevented 14,000 accidents and 9,000 injuries.
Moreover, when carriers fail to comply with DVIR regulations, they could be subject to a variety of Department of Transportation fines and other costs. Failure to thoroughly conduct a pre-trip inspection and find mechanical failures before a vehicle is on the road could result in unplanned downtime, decreased profitability and lost reputation, as the vehicle is out of service.
The Critical Role of Drivers
Drivers play an important role in ensuring the consistent completion and accuracy of the DVIR. Whether done manually or electronically, drivers help reduce their risk and the company’s risk when they complete their pre-trip inspection reports. Some key ways drivers participate include:
- Drivers must conduct thorough physical inspections of their vehicle before they operate it.
- Drivers must submit their DVIRs in a timely manner, including when a defect appears during a trip, so unsafe vehicles can be taken out of service and repaired.
- Drivers need to confirm the safe operability of the vehicle after a mechanic/shop personnel report that a repair has been completed.
How is Technology Improving DVIRs?
Many trucking companies still use a combination of spreadsheets, emails and phone calls to coordinate necessary repairs identified in DVIRs. However, as the industry continues to undergo a digital transformation, more and more of this information is being communicated electronically.
While some drivers may be hesitant to change, technology can simplify the process for them and make it as smooth as possible, prompting the driver with the information they need to complete each step of the way.
In the past, when DVIRs were filled out manually and submitted, there was a lag time between when a driver completed the report and when it was submitted, causing delays if there was maintenance or services that needed to be completed on a truck.
Some of the benefits of electronic DVIRs include:
- Eliminating unnecessary paperwork
- Boosting driver productivity
- Faster communication
- Minimizing vehicle downtime
- Data is easier to find and search
- All parties or stakeholders involved in the process have access to the data – drivers, shop foreman, mechanics, asset managers, inspection officers, etc.
Overall, electronic DVIRs improve the user experience by cutting down the amount of information a driver has to enter, automating prompts or reminders to save drivers time, and providing enhanced accessibility to DVIR information. All of this improves the accuracy of the DVIR.
Going Electronic with DVIRs
How does the physical and digital world connect? “Automation decreases the driver’s interaction with the system, allowing them to focus on what matters most: driving,” Sherif Nasr, business area manager for Fleet Mobility at Trimble Transportation shared. “It also eliminates inaccuracies in the data, promoting better downstream process such as repair management.”
Trimble’s DVIRs are connected with a variety of other Trimble solutions, streamlining the entire process. For example, if a driver reports a problem through an electronic DVIR, it will automatically trigger the creation of a work order in Trimble’s TMT Fleet Maintenance solution, which sets off a workflow from there. Once the problem is fixed, the driver is prompted to confirm the problem was solved and the vehicle is safe to operate. The electronic process saves time and cuts down on data entry.
Upgraded Technology and ROI
The ultimate goal with DVIRs is ensuring a vehicle is safe. After that, making sure a truck is on the road as much as possible and profitable is important. Utilizing the right technology can cut down on the time a driver needs to spend conducting and submitting an inspection report, getting them back on the road faster.
The real ROI is realized when fleets can nearly eliminate at-fault crashes, thus improving their CSA score, and cut down on unnecessary downtime or out-of-service time during repairs.
Additionally, a reputation of a healthy fleet attracts more business. Decreased legal exposure and liability due to fewer at-fault crashes, and an empowered driver who feels like their time is respected, and their “peripheral” duties (anything other than actually driving) are minimal, are all good investments.
Integration with an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Solution
By integrating the DVIR into an ELD, back-office personnel are able to see exactly what the driver is recording, allowing them to quickly see any issues with the truck and schedule any necessary repairs. By integrating these systems, drivers can also be notified once a repair is complete and the truck is ready to be back on the road.
A product like Trimble’s ELD DVIR connects all of the data and touch points of the service lifecycle, making the entire process more efficient. By digitizing the process and facilitating direct communication between drivers and maintenance personnel, issues can be resolved in an expedited manner.
Learn more about Trimble’s digital DVIR solution here.