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How Fleet Management Software Helps You Avoid DVIR Fines

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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.

And federal regulations 396.11 and 396.13 (the basis for DVIR fines) aren’t as forgiving as a high school orchestra teacher, with fines in the thousands of dollars for DVIR-related violations.

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.

According to 2010 data, companies that don’t require drivers to fill out DVIRs:

  • Had an average fine of $3,866
  • Could pay as much as $9,960 for a single fine

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.

1. Omnitracs

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:

2. Telogis

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.

3. Teletrac Navman DVIR

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:

How Fleet Analytics Can Help You With Regulatory Compliance

4 Ways Geofencing Can Save Your Fleet Thousands Of Dollars

The 6 Best Free And Open Source Fleet Management Software Programs

Looking for Fleet Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Fleet Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Geoff Hoppe

Geoff Hoppe writes about business intelligence and field service management for Capterra. His background is in education and higher ed, but he’s interested these days in how small businesses can use software to be more agile and efficient. When he’s not reading and writing about software, he’s probably reading and writing about history, music and comic books, finding new hikes throughout Virginia, or following the Fighting Irish.

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