Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today


The driver (or daily) vehicle inspection report (DVIR) is a Federal requirement, according to 49 CFR 396.11 and 396.13, before you start a trip, continue a transport, and after completing a trip. Many drivers do not realize it is a requirement to review that last completed DVIR before conducting their inspection and specifically check any deficiencies noted in the previous report.   

Completing the DVIR 

Section Two of the 2019-2021 DL 650 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf discusses the truck and trailer inspection process at all levels, and Section Four describes how to conduct an inspection on your bus or passenger transport. However, Section Eleven explains the vehicle inspection process in-depth for each vehicle type and for all vehicles. 

For instance, Section Eleven states, “In addition to checking the external mirrors, school bus drivers must also check the internal and external mirrors used for observing students.” Although that’s not something all drivers must know, nor even all bus drivers, it is necessary information for those testing to get a school bus driver’s license. 

Unless your fleet prescribes a particular DVIR, CA CMV drivers should use the one provided by the CA DMV. This will help you get through the vehicle inspection test, which you must pass to get a CA CDL. 

Figure 11-12 provides a “CDL Vehicle Inspection Memory Aid” that shows which areas must be covered for each vehicle.

You can use a smartphone or tablet to complete an electronic inspection by doing a walk-around “Pre-Trip” or “Trip-End” inspection. It is an excellent method to ensure that you include everything required. Plus, the form can be transferred to your ELD using file transfer protocol. You can also send it right to the maintenance crew so that they have it to complete the repairs. It also ensures you have it ready to print to preclude roadside violations.

All DVIRs must include the following:

  • Date
  • License plate or fleet ID number
  • Driver’s signature
  • Mechanic’s signature, which attests they repaired any shortcomings, or no repair was needed
  • The next driver’s signature, which attests they checked any deficiencies were corrected, or no repair was needed

Using a smartphone or tablet could prevent your drivers from “pencil-whipping” the DVIR. With an electronic form, the driver can tap or click the item that needs repair while looking at it.   

Maintaining the DVIR

After completing the DVIR, the driver must get the repairs, if any, completed by maintenance before the trip, or the mechanic could sign off saying repairs were not needed. All owner-operators and fleet managers must maintain the DVIR with defects for 90 days or three months.

All buses, vans, and other vehicles for transporting passengers must do a DVIR. Property-carrying vehicles with safety-related deficiencies must complete the DVIR.  

Roadside Violations & the DVIR

A completed DVIR will eliminate many roadside violations; the completed form itself will keep the driver and fleet from receiving four Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) severity points. There would be another four points possible if the mechanic did not sign off on a repair.

Then, an inspection will likely turn up more. During the previous six months, more than 50 percent of all CSA points administered have been for maintenance shortcomings. Just one turn signal that does not work could be six CSA severity points. 

The following are possible civil penalties for the driver, mechanic, or fleet:

  • $1,270 each day the DVIR was not completed as required
  • $12,700 for the individual who falsifies the DVIR attempting to hide the safety defect or fleet manager who orders a falsification 
  • $15,420 for failure to repair the safety defect that was reported

Drivers must complete a pre-trip and trip-end inspection and pass the report on to maintenance if required for repair. Without a reliable system of check and repairs, safety defects will go undetected and, therefore, unrepaired.

The top vehicle maintenance shortcomings that lead to Out-of-Service (OOS) Orders are brakes, tires, light, and emergency equipment. Completing the DVIR can prevent most of these. However, when you get ticketed or receive a roadside violation, consult a traffic attorney. You must keep your Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record clean.

Roadside Violations & Traffic Tickets in the Truckee, CA Area 

Most drivers are aware of the “chicken coop” or weigh station in the Donner Pass on I-80. This is the site of many roadside violations and CSA severity points for no DVIR in Nevada County. 

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. We offer CDL holders a free initial consultation. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.



The 2019-2021 DL 650 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

The Verizon Connect articleWhat Is DVIR?

The Federal Register Final RuleInspection, Repair, and Maintenance; Driver-Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR)

The Balance articleA Guide to CSA Point Values and Transportation
Share To: