For vehicles with more
than a 10,000 gross vehicle weight rating, federal regulations mandate that
drivers must complete a written vehicle safety inspection at the end of
each workday. However, it is a good idea to have drivers of any size
commercial vehicle complete such a report. These reports help reduce
downtime and improve highway safety.
Drivers are responsible for their vehicles and cargo,
and any decisions on roadworthiness and safety rests with them. Daily
vehicle inspection reports can help your drivers make better judgments by
ensuring early identification of vehicle problems and defects. These
reports also help prevent the operation of vehicles with conditions that
are likely to cause or contribute to a mechanical breakdown or accident.
The regulations dictate
that daily vehicle inspection reports must cover, at the least, brakes,
steering mechanism, lighting devices and reflectors, tires, horn,
windshield wipers, rear-vision mirrors, coupling devices, wheels and rims
and emergency equipment. But the more in-depth and thorough the inspection
While federal regulations do not require that a
pre-trip vehicle inspection be done in writing, the fleets with the best
productivity and safety use both pre- and post-trip inspections.
Vehicle inspection reports are available from a number
of sources, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, truck leasing
and rental companies, truck service providers and suppliers of safety and
regulatory compliance products and services.
Along with the reports, obviously, there needs to be a
system in place to effectively respond to any defects, problems or
deficiencies reported by drivers.
While most fleets have a daily vehicle inspection
process in place, the quality of the inspections is often poor. It’s
not because the inspections are complicated or difficult. It’s a
matter of professionalism and company policy.
Rather than carefully examining their vehicles, many
drivers merely “check off” the boxes on the inspection reports
without really looking for problems and defects. This neglect can mean
costly and time-wasting road-service calls for breakdowns, or worse,
How do you break drivers of this bad habit? Here are
Communicate and explain the importance of your daily
vehicle inspection reports.
Promptly correct any reported
defects or problems and then let the driver know that these have been
fixed. If you don’t react in a timely manner, you’re sending
the message that the reports don’t matter, wherein drivers might
figure then ‘why bother completing them?’
Occasionally do a spot check. Pick an inspection report
at random and perform your own inspection of that vehicle to see if its
condition is as the driver recorded. If it is, let the driver know you
appreciate his efforts. If your inspection finds unreported problems, this
is an opportunity to re-educate the driver to the importance of quality
Conduct a stealth-type reconnaissance operation to
determine how thorough the vehicle inspections. Observe your drivers from
an area where you can’t be seen but can view their inspections.
When the inspection becomes a habit, it turns into a
routine rather than a bother. And over time, drivers become more
experienced and develop a sharper eye for detecting problems.
Daily vehicle inspections are not only essential to
eliminating avoidable problems that adversely impact your vehicles’
reliability and uptime, they promote an improved
level of safety and driver professionalism. BI
David Kolman is a veteran truck communicator, keynote
speaker and long-haul trucker. Commissioned as an Honorary Colonel on the
Kentucky governor’s staff for his work promoting traffic safety, he
actively participates in trade associations and reports news and
information about the trucking industry for broadcasting and print media.
Equipment news roundup
Freightliner Trucks’ ReadySpecGo
program for its Business Class M2 106 vocational trucks offer a 45-day
delivery time and extended three-year/unlimited distance warranty on
pre-spec’d, ready-to-order trucks for pick-up and delivery
applications. Limited options are available. The program trucks feature
MBE900 engines rated from 190 to 230 horsepower, Freightliner axles and
Allison automatic, Mercedes-Benz manual MBT and AGS transmissions.
International Truck and Engine Corp.’s new International 4100 Class 5 conventional truck is
built on a low-profile frame for easy loading and unloading. Available in
17,800-pound and 19,500-pound gross vehicle weight models, the truck comes
standard with an International VT-365 engine rated 230 horsepower and 540
pounds per foot of torque and an Allison 1000 Series transmission.
Mack Trucks has added
a DayCab and 70-Inch Mid-Rise versions of its new Rawhide edition,
introduced earlier this year in a 60-Inch Mid-Rise configuration. The
Rawhide is a premium version of the Mack CH model, aimed at local and
Volvo Trucks North America has
introduced its new VT 800 heavy daycab which comes standard with Volvo D16
diesel engine offering up to 625 horsepower and 2,250 pounds per foot of
torque. The D16 has the Volvo Intelligent Torque (I-Torque) which controls
the amount of engine torque delivered to the driveline in any gear,
allowing the spec’ing of an optimized rear axle and suspension