WHY PRE & POST TRIP INSPECTIONS?
One thing we have noticed with a lot of trucking companies; they don’t necessarily understand the importance of drivers doing a true Pre & Post Trip Inspections. I cannot stress enough the amount of money you can save in vehicle repairs and not to mention the liability you can reduce during litigation by ensuring your drivers and supervisor understand the importance of a proper Pre and Post Trip Inspection.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENS?
Now, we all know that many drivers just sit in their truck and sign off on their Driver Vehicle Inspections Reports at the end of their runs. The last thing they want to do is spend a half an hour doing a walk around and crawling under their truck and trailer before and after being on duty for 14 hours. However, this can save companies and drivers many headaches with the DOT when all is said and done. Every professional driver is required to show the Department of Licensing that they can conduct these inspections before receiving their CDL for that reason. So please don’t let your drivers say “I didn’t know”!
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FOR THE DOT…
- Drivers need to indicate their inspection pre and post trip as “On-duty not driving” duty status on their log books.
- Driver completes a DVIR when defects are found in order to avoid violations roadside and during an audit.
- Drive communicates accurate reporting information to the company.
There are often times where there is a problem with getting accurate information reported to the company by the driver. How many times has one of your drivers been through a Roadside Inspection and received a violation for inoperable bulbs, or even more annoying, multiple violations that could have easily been prevented if they truly walked around their truck and made the simple repairs before operating the vehicle? Now the company is stuck with that lame violation for the next 24 months on their SMS Report and has to complete the required documentation by the FMCSA (see our blog on “Paper Trail Needed after Your Drivers Receive Roadside Inspection with Vehicle Maintenance Issues”).
Nobody likes getting that call saying your trucks is stuck roadside or at a scale because of a preventable maintenance issue. I know drivers do not like sitting there waiting to be on the road again. Not to mention the money both the driver and the company loses by your truck not being on the road or making their deadlines.
THINK ABOUT LITIGATION…
Now, this is all “Best Case Scenarios” of why inspections are important. DOT is the least of your problems in a “Worst Case Scenario”. We all pray that one of our trucks will not be involved in a major injury or fatality accident but it does happen; even to the best of us. We have heard countless times of trucking companies having huge judgments awarded against them when their driver wasn’t even necessarily at fault. One of the best ways to protect yourself in a negligence claim is by having an airtight paper trail.
If John/Jane Doe had an RSI within 2 years of a major accident, maybe caused by a blowout, and received violation for Vehicle Maintenance and a lawyer can prove that the violation would have been prevented if the driver conducted a proper pre-trip inspection prior to their trip, your company could be found liable because of negligence. If that lawyer can dig up maintenance issues on the truck involved in the accident and a time when that driver was caught not conducting a proper inspection, not only could the company be found negligent for allowing the driver to conduct their inspections in that manner but the driver could too.
It is our job and moral duty to ensure that we are protecting the general public, and the driver at all times during operation of our CMV’s. If we are well aware of the lack of proper inspections on our equipment or that a driver is not getting out of his truck to ensure safe operations during transport, any jury will sympathize with the non-trucking party. We need to do our best to ensure our equipment is in good working order and we can only do this through drivers.
SETTING UP PRE & POST TRIP INSPECTIONS
Conduct proper training with each and every one of your drivers on the importance of proper Pre and Post Trip Inspections. If your drivers are not following your company policy, protect yourself and the public; create a paper trail of documentation that it is unacceptable behavior and follow the disciplinary action outlined in your Fleet Safety Policy. Contact us, we can help you with the necessary documentation and training. Not only will it save you money in repairs but it could potentially save lives.
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