Pre- and post-trip inspections can help lower the number of CSA violations a fleet receives and improve a fleet’s maintenance and safety. But current FMCSA rules state that drivers are not required to submit them when no defects are found. Does that mean drivers are not doing them correctly?
That question leaves a lot up in the air for interpretation while hoping drivers, currently, with sky-rocking attrition rates, are meeting FMCSA requirements for their inspections. This can, unfortunately, be a game of chance.
Not only should drivers be required to document all pre- and post- trip inspections but so should making the process electronic and verifiable for increased accountability. If your fleet is still using paper inspection forms, you could be missing opportunities to identify maintenance issues as well as capture valuable data from more structured reporting.
Paper-based reporting, even when done with the utmost diligence is subject to errors and mishandling by anyone who touches the paperwork and inputs the data. This can occur with just one inspection by one driver. If you take into account that a driver will be doing inspections on at least one vehicle, a trailer and possibly another piece of equipment they operate each day, that adds up to a lot of paperwork. Now imagine that across your entire fleet.
Embracing electronic forms makes pre- and post-trip inspections easier to complete and ensures more accurate reporting and timely follow up, especially when you think of it across your fleet. Still not convinced? You think your drivers will resist the change? Change can have its hiccups but, with the right device that has the list of areas your drivers need to inspect prepopulated they will soon find the value of checking off each box with ease during an inspection.
The value of electronic pre- and post-trip inspections goes beyond avoiding CSA maintenance violations by enabling drivers to identify and address maintenance issues before they become larger issues. This process can increase your vehicle uptime and become a financial incentive for both the fleet owner and drivers.
For example, weight stations are the primary mechanism in place for policing trucks on our roads and making sure they’re in compliance with a host of federal and state standards. The way a truck will mostly likely get identified and pulled over for inspection is for obvious violations and defects that could have been addressed through proper pre- and post- trip inspections. Additionally, that time spent being inspected and with the inspector going over what defects need to be addressed is time away from the job of driving-- Let alone if they place the driver out of service the time can add up to a lot of lost revenue for both the fleet and driver.
Doing a proper inspection is the first step towards better fleet efficiency. Streamlining the process by electronically imputing that data is the second. Making sure your inspection is verified should be the third. With these three steps, you can keep your fleet up and running with confidence.