I recently ran across a great article from ATBS called The Importance of the Pre-Trip Truck Inspection. In my opinion, the article was spot on in enumerating the reasons why drivers should perform their pre-trip inspections.
Those reasons, according to ATBS are:
- Safety: Pre-trip inspections are one of the best ways to ensure safety. As the article said, “It can be dangerous to go out on the road with a load that is not secured, brakes that are damaged, wiring that is not connected, etc.” All of those things can be easily identified during a thorough pre-trip inspection.
- Legal: By law drivers have to ensure vehicles are safe to operate and the way to do that is through the pre-trip inspection process before each and every trip. If during an inspection a driver is found to have skipped an inspection he/she could get a violation and a ding to their CSA score.
- Operational: Checking the condition of the vehicle before a trip helps reduce the risk of an on-road breakdown and could prevent an out-of-service violation during an inspection. In other words, as AATBS says, “It keeps you on the road.”
- Financial: Pre-trip inspections often discover problems in their early stage when they are easier and less expensive to repair. We all know the most expensive repair is the one being made at the side of the road.
Pre-trip inspections are not excessively time-consuming; 15 to 30 minutes should be enough time to complete them. Fleet maintenance managers can make these inspections easier by having a form that includes a systematic flow around the truck and covers all the required systems and components.
ATBS has developed a handy checklist that covers engine and front of truck, truck side and rear, coupling devices, cab check and engine start, brake check, and safety equipment check. It is up to fleet management personnel to impress on drivers the importance of these inspections and to ensure compliance. As important is making sure there is a mechanism in place for following up on any problems identified during a pre-trip inspection. This is one way to demonstrate management’s commitment to fleet safety and respect for drivers.
Pre-trip inspections are the law, but perhaps more importantly they are a way to keep drivers safe and avoid costly on-road breakdowns. And isn’t that what we all want?