My high school music class had a practice requirement. Every day, you had to practice at least 30 minutes. That, I had no problem with.
The paperwork was a different matter.
At the end of each week, we had to hand in a slip with the number of minutes we’d practiced each day. In theory, it was an easy, orderly process: practice, record, hand in sheet. In reality, it was a frustrating, easily forgotten process: practice, forget to fill out the slip, wait until end of the semester and beg teacher’s forgiveness with 13 hastily completed slips.
Those practice slips are like daily vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs), the daily once-over every commercial fleet driver has to do on their rig.
Like my practice slips, DVIRs are often “pencil whipped”—that is, quickly and carelessly filled out.
How can you prevent DVIR carelessness from hurting your financial situation? Fortunately, fleet management software vendors have a solution to that problem.
DVIRs: Pay now or pay (more) later
If you manage a fleet, you’re familiar with DVIR shenanigans. You’re also familiar with how tough it can be to get your drivers to comply.
Kevin Mullen speaks for a lot of fleet managers when he remarks on “the difficulty carriers have getting drivers to perform anything resembling a thorough pre-trip inspection.” And when you consider the amount of paperwork that builds up with inspections every morning and night, it’s easy to see why DVIRs get pencil-whipped.
Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration statistics suggest this is the case, with over half of violations in 2014 and 2015 having to do with lights, brakes, and tires.
Drivers aren’t filling out DVIRs, or aren’t filling them out correctly, or maintenance departments aren’t paying attention to DVIRs. The problem is that companies can be fined for all three issues.
North American Transportation Association data gives some idea of how heavy DVIR fines can be.
I called the FMSCA’s Virginia office and was told that there is no set list of possible fines for DVIR violations. Fines, they say, can vary based on a number of factors. However, the FMCSA raised the fines in April of 2017, so no matter what fine you might get, it’s going to be higher than you may last remember.
Bottom line: if DVIRs remain a nuisance to your drivers, they’ll become a financial nuisance to you.
How fleet management software solves DVIR problems
The benefit of fleet management software is that DVIRs go from being a nuisance to being an integral part of your overall fleet management.
Rather than keeping track of paper reports, fleet management software with a DVIR function organizes the information digitally. Instead of keeping track of up to ninety days’ worth of paper reports, you’ll have the same information available on a laptop, desktop, or mobile device.
An added benefit of fleet management software is that your maintenance department will get notifications if your drivers make note of specific issues in their DVIR.
Four fleet management software options for DVIR
The following list isn’t exhaustive, but it provides an idea of some of the well-known players in DVIR software.
Omnitracs offers their DVIR solution for their XRS and Enterprise Services platforms. Both products are 396.11 compliant, allow maintenance technicians to check reports and report when problems are fixed, and keep inspections for the required 90 days. Both also provide you with an easy, step-by-step inspection process:
Fleet management giant Telogis offers a solution that helps with DVIRs, but also with hours of service (HOS) and DOT requirements. As with Omnitracs, Telogis’ solution does away with paper reports in favor of a simple form you can fill out, on a mobile device, in a few steps. Telogis Compliance also can tell whether or not your drivers are being thorough by measuring the amount of time they take to check on a certain issue.
Like Omnitracs and Telogis, Teletrac Navman’s DVIR software does away with paper. Instead of keeping track of the required 90 days of paper reports (or making you, or your drivers, keep up with them), Teletrac’s DVIRs are stored digitally, for easy access.
4. Geotab Drive
Geotab’s software program, Geotab Drive, also provides a digital solution to the problem of keeping up with DVIRs. Geotab Drive lets you complete DVIRs on a tablet or mobile device, and is also good for hours of service requirements. Fleet managers get notifications when drivers document an issue, helping keep them updated as to vehicle status.
How have you addressed your DVIR problems?
Have you used fleet management software to streamline your DVIRs? Has it helped you beat pencil-whipping? If so, let me know in the comments below!
And if you’re further interested in how fleet management software can help you, check out one of these great Capterra articles: