The first line of defense for well maintained trucks are your drivers. They are required to do pre- and post-trip inspections and submit DVIRs, but the way those inspections are completed varies widely.
There are things you can do to make sure that all inspections are done in a thorough, consistent manner. If you are still using paper forms for pre- and post-trip inspections, you are unwittingly part of the problem.
The more cumbersome it is for the driver to complete the inspection, the less likely that he or she will stay intently focused throughout the whole inspection. Electronic forms that can be filled out via a tablet streamline the inspection process, making it easier and faster to complete. You can design the form so the inspection follows a logical flow around the vehicle. You also can also change an electronic form easily if you want to add or delete anything.
Drivers will be more diligent in their inspections if they know that your shop is taking action on any problems they discover and report on their DVIRs. You need to have a system in place so that problems identified during pre- and post-trip inspections are taken care of before the truck goes back on the road. Nothing is more frustrating to a driver than to have to repeatedly point out the same problem, or worse, have a roadside breakdown for a problem he noted on a DVIR.
Consider automating your inspection process so that you can track compliance with inspections and can identify drivers who made need some retraining in how to properly complete inspection reports.
You can also analyze whether problems reported on DVIRs are getting fixed, and take action if needed.
Drivers are your first – and best -- line of defense when it comes to keeping trucks on the road. Making it easier for them to complete vehicle inspections is a good first step to improving uptime.