It’s easy to become complacent about doing a daily vehicle inspection report (DVIR) or pre-trip inspection of your vehicle. Some drivers go through the motions as if it is just another formality they must complete, while others do it in the cab as if it is a paperwork drill.
Whereas it’s true, you must complete the DVIR before every trip and at least every 24 hours while on the road or face a Form and Manner violation, it should not be just another formality. Don’t rush through or breeze over these checks to meet the requirement. Many things you will catch while doing a walk-through inspection of your vehicle are the same items roadside inspectors will detect if you don’t. Many of these items, when found and corrected, can save your life and that of many others. In this article, we will take a look at the five most frequently neglected or skimmed over items on the DVIR.
In addition to saving you money long-term by maintaining your vehicle, it will save you money in fines and penalties as well. Plus, if you are put Out-of-Service (OOS) because of poor vehicle maintenance, it will cost you a lot more. Roadside inspectors can put your vehicle OOS for ten hours for safety violations, which could cost you to miss a delivery deadline.
#1 – Lights & Reflectors
Lights and reflectors account for nearly one-third of violations during a roadside inspection, and many should be found during a DVIR. Non-working lights are very noticeable to inspectors, and muddied reflectors can get you a CSA safety violation. These are easily fixed. Check every light and replace burnt out bulbs so that you do not attract the attention of the inspector. A burnt out light is a small violation that usually snowballs. Then, brush off those reflectors.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) states that sixty-three percent of CSA points received by drivers start with a glaring shortcoming such as a burnt out light or covered reflector. You will likely spot those same defects with a proper DVIR.
#2 – Brake Adjustments
Faulty brake violations are one of the most frequent roadside inspection failures, are a leading cause of accidents, and the origin of many mechanical problems. A brake adjustment check could save your life and should not get skimmed over. Spend the time and do it right. Checking brake adjustments are made easier by manufacturers. When the brakes are out of adjustment, the pushrod indicator is visible. Remember, “If any portion of the indicator marking is visible, either flush with the brake chamber face or past it, the brake is out of adjustment.”
#3 – Wheels
The list of problems you could encounter if you do not check the wheel is extensive. Perhaps the biggest concern is the lug nuts. Checking all the lug nuts for tightness is imperative to keep from having one of your back wheels passing you while going down the road. Plus, you need to check for anything that may have become lodged between the wheels, objects that might pierce the sidewalls of the tire, or nails hidden in the thread. A rock that becomes dislodged from between tires becomes a lethal weapon flying at 55 mph.
Rust on the lug nuts can point to other problems and will weaken the mounting bolt over time. Clean up the rust with a wire brush and spray the bolts and nuts with an anti-rust lubricant.
#4 – Emergency Kit
The law requires you to have an emergency kit. Make sure everything is there before every trip, a working fire extinguisher with a completed annual inspection, flares, spare fuses and circuit breaker, and warning triangles. If it’s a shared vehicle, keep everything organized in a handy location.
#5 – In-Cab Inspection
The reason we place this last is not because it is the least important, but because once complete with this check, unless you found any safety issue that needed correcting, you are ready to roll.
Everything in your cab should be in good working order. Often, inspectors that find an unorganized cab, right or wrong, consider the driver careless and will inspect more thoroughly. Since this is the place the driver spends most of their time, it could become a big trash can if you’re not careful. An empty bottle or soda can could roll under the brake at an inopportune time.
Check for cracks in the windshield; gauges and lights; smooth operation of the safety belt and give a hard tug to make sure it locks; and make sure there’s not too much play in the steering wheel.
Another important check is your paperwork. You should keep a folder/binder with all the documents you will need for the trip, bill of lading, permits, vehicle and trailer registration, proof of insurance, route maps (if required), CDL, and medical card. Many drivers like to keep printed e-logs up-to-date in the folder as well, though it is not required.
Traffic Attorneys Who Regularly Practice in Lamont
Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, when you need assistance with a traffic ticket or DMV NOTS Hearing. A traffic ticket attorney can get negligent operator points removed from your driving record or request a higher threshold of NOTS points before a suspension. Most CDL holders know to fight every ticket. Some successfully represent themselves, but that is a rarity. Traffic ticket lawyers know the traffic code, the judges, court clerks, and many of the law enforcement officers. Plus, a strong justification in another case similar to yours can be used to get dismissals or reductions to non-moving, no point violations. Call us for a free, no-obligation phone consultation.
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The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf
The CVSA website
Intrucking.org Out-of-Service Criteria .pdf
Truckinginfo.com article, “How to Avoid 6 Common CSA Violations”