August 18, 2023
The Importance of Pre- and Post-Trip Inspections
By Ben Mueller, PACCAR Leasing Company (PacLease)
Truck drivers face numerous challenges on the road. The unforgiving schedules, the physical demands of the job, and the rigors of the road, place enormous pressure on the drivers as they work to deliver product timely and often. When it’s time to hit the road or time to head home, it can be easy to skip or rush the pre-and post-trip inspections. However, for good reason, these inspections are required by law. Not only are they legally required for safety reasons, but these inspections can also save you money by reducing repair costs and minimizing downtime. It is important to understand the big picture of how everything fits together and why these inspections are so important.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires every truck driver to perform a pre-trip and post-trip inspection on every trip. The pre-and post-trip inspection not only ensures that everything on your truck is functioning properly but also helps catch any maintenance issues before they become a costly repair. A minor problem observed during an inspection will likely cost less to fix now than later, saving you time and money in the long run. Don’t get in the habit of skipping inspections just because you’ve never had anything go wrong. It’s important to understand that every time you drive on the road without conducting an inspection, there is a chance you’re putting yourself or someone else in danger.
It's in everyone’s best interest to make sure a trucks basic components are working correctly. When an operator gets behind the wheel, they’re taking responsibility for the state of their truck. In case of an accident, regardless of fault, the Driver Vehicle Information Record (DVIR) completed during pre-and post-trip inspections, can be used as part of any related litigation. Consistent completion of DVIR’s, serves as a sort of due diligence, serving as evidence of a consistent commitment to safety and compliance with the law.
To help perform inspections with ease, many telematics companies have released mobile applications that assist drivers with completing DOT compliant DVIR’s. Such applications can be a beneficial solution for any fleet company as they provide visibility to fleet managers and store completed DVIR’s electronically.
Consistent pre-and post-trip inspections are directly linked to improved CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) scores. Being delinquent with pre-and post-trip inspections negatively impacts CSA scores which can affect a fleets commercial automobile insurance cost. Failure to perform trip inspections can result in loss of certifications, licenses, money, and in severe cases employment and business loss.
Clearly, there are significant benefits to conducting thorough pre-and post-trip inspections. Not only do you ensure safety and legal compliance, but you also ensure that your vehicle is in good shape during your trip. Ultimately, this serves yourself and your business well by mitigating risk, ensuring safety and legal compliance, and saving costs in the long run.
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