What Is a Pre-Trip Inspection?

September 14, 2020

When it comes to preventing fatal errors, all truck drivers must complete a pre-trip inspection. While it may be an overlooked process to some, it can, however, save lives and revenue. An inspection typically requires a driver to do a thorough check of their load, trailer and commercial vehicle.

Issues or damages that are found must be addressed before one’s trip. Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) violations and fines can be expensive. For example, 7,325 U.S. carriers were fined in 2010, and the average carrier was penalized with a CSA violation of $8,499. Therefore, it is in the driver’s best interest to locate the problem before the inspector. The purpose of a pre-trip inspection is to increase safety, limit downtime, prevent accidents and get drivers to their destinations on time.

What Is a Pre-Trip Inspection?

A pre-trip inspection is a detailed inspection of a vehicle, ensuring that all of its systems are functioning properly. The federal government requires vehicles to be inspected each day before driving, which normally takes 30 to 50 minutes to complete. Once the pre-trip inspection is completed, it needs to be recorded in a driver’s logbook as “on-duty, not driving.” Fleet drivers need to do a complete safety inspection of the vehicle’s lights, coupling system, tires, engine compartment, brakes, fuel tanks, chassis and in-cab.

Moreover, pre-trip inspections drastically reduce the chances of accidents. Roadside repairs will cost much more than going to a repair shop. If an accident occurs, assets may be damaged, causing customers to lose faith in your services. Daily inspections help to reduce costs, improve driver safety and protect company assets.

How to Prepare for a Pre-Trip Inspection

Create a Checklist

A pre-inspection checklist is a routine form for drivers to complete before they begin their trip. A thorough checklist involves six categories that need to be examined:

  1. Check the fluids in the truck.
  2. Look for any rust or raised spots on the roof.
  3. Make sure there’s no leakage in tires.
  4. Double-check you have enough coolant fluid.
  5. Ensure all body-panels are tightly attached.
  6. Most importantly, start the engine.

Most states mandate drivers to pass a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) test and a Department of Transportation (DOT) pre-trip inspection test. Both will teach you how to correctly complete a pre- and post-trip inspection.

Keep Records to Avoid Fines

Having records of previous pre-trip inspections is crucial when it comes to avoiding fines. If you are pulled over or asked to demonstrate an inspection at a weigh station, then you will need proof of your previously completed inspections. Police officers or inspectors can administer penalties or fines, which results in delayed travel due to repairs. If the damage is serious, then your truck must be towed to the nearest automobile repair shop. If certain parts don’t require immediate repair, then you will need to provide documentation.

Stay Current with FMCSA Regulations

Non-compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is one of the most common ways to get a fine and lower your CSA score. Follow the latest FMCSA regulations on their website to remain compliant. Fleet managers should offer educational services to ensure their fleet drivers are up to date with safety protocols, pre-inspection updates and driving regulations.

Know What Warrants Roadside Inspections

Depending on the state, some inspectors will pull drivers over if they discover moving violations, while others will spot check CDL vehicles at weigh stations. During these spot checks, inspectors usually don’t have time to perform a thorough review. One way they can tell if a driver did not complete his or her pre-trip inspection is if they keep a messy truck. Additionally, violating other traffic violations, like speeding, can warrant a roadside inspection. It’s always best to obey the law to limit the chances of these surprise visits. If an impromptu inspection does arise, then remember to remain pleasant and have all of your documentation easily accessible.

Don’t Overlook Any Inspection Items

During the pre-trip inspection, some drivers may rush the process and overlook these critical eight items:

  • Cleanliness
  • Double-check wheel chocks
  • Test the truck’s brakes
  • Possess an emergency kit
  • Check the reflectors
  • Ensure the seat belts aren’t worn
  • Make sure the wheel fasteners are tightened
  • Prepare all the necessary documents (vehicle registration, trailer ownership and permits).

For drivers that use an eLog such as what Azuga provides, be sure and have at least one hardcopy of the logbook as a trusty backup. Another missed component of pre-trip inspection is the expiration dates of one’s commercial driver’s license and the safety inspection approval sticker. Verify that these items are current or renew them a.s.a.p. if needed.

Key Takeaways

The key to a successful pre-trip inspection is to take your time. Methodically work your way around each section of your truck and perform each check per category thoroughly. It’s vital to ensure the safety of your drivers, vehicle, products and the lives of others on the road.

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What Is a Pre-Trip Inspection?

September 14, 2020

When it comes to preventing fatal errors, all truck drivers must complete a pre-trip inspection. While it may be an overlooked process to some, it can, however, save lives and revenue. An inspection typically requires a driver to do a thorough check of their load, trailer and commercial vehicle.

Issues or damages that are found must be addressed before one’s trip. Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) violations and fines can be expensive. For example, 7,325 U.S. carriers were fined in 2010, and the average carrier was penalized with a CSA violation of $8,499. Therefore, it is in the driver’s best interest to locate the problem before the inspector. The purpose of a pre-trip inspection is to increase safety, limit downtime, prevent accidents and get drivers to their destinations on time.

What Is a Pre-Trip Inspection?

A pre-trip inspection is a detailed inspection of a vehicle, ensuring that all of its systems are functioning properly. The federal government requires vehicles to be inspected each day before driving, which normally takes 30 to 50 minutes to complete. Once the pre-trip inspection is completed, it needs to be recorded in a driver’s logbook as “on-duty, not driving.” Fleet drivers need to do a complete safety inspection of the vehicle’s lights, coupling system, tires, engine compartment, brakes, fuel tanks, chassis and in-cab.

Moreover, pre-trip inspections drastically reduce the chances of accidents. Roadside repairs will cost much more than going to a repair shop. If an accident occurs, assets may be damaged, causing customers to lose faith in your services. Daily inspections help to reduce costs, improve driver safety and protect company assets.

How to Prepare for a Pre-Trip Inspection

Create a Checklist

A pre-inspection checklist is a routine form for drivers to complete before they begin their trip. A thorough checklist involves six categories that need to be examined:

  1. Check the fluids in the truck.
  2. Look for any rust or raised spots on the roof.
  3. Make sure there’s no leakage in tires.
  4. Double-check you have enough coolant fluid.
  5. Ensure all body-panels are tightly attached.
  6. Most importantly, start the engine.

Most states mandate drivers to pass a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) test and a Department of Transportation (DOT) pre-trip inspection test. Both will teach you how to correctly complete a pre- and post-trip inspection.

Keep Records to Avoid Fines

Having records of previous pre-trip inspections is crucial when it comes to avoiding fines. If you are pulled over or asked to demonstrate an inspection at a weigh station, then you will need proof of your previously completed inspections. Police officers or inspectors can administer penalties or fines, which results in delayed travel due to repairs. If the damage is serious, then your truck must be towed to the nearest automobile repair shop. If certain parts don’t require immediate repair, then you will need to provide documentation.

Stay Current with FMCSA Regulations

Non-compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is one of the most common ways to get a fine and lower your CSA score. Follow the latest FMCSA regulations on their website to remain compliant. Fleet managers should offer educational services to ensure their fleet drivers are up to date with safety protocols, pre-inspection updates and driving regulations.

Know What Warrants Roadside Inspections

Depending on the state, some inspectors will pull drivers over if they discover moving violations, while others will spot check CDL vehicles at weigh stations. During these spot checks, inspectors usually don’t have time to perform a thorough review. One way they can tell if a driver did not complete his or her pre-trip inspection is if they keep a messy truck. Additionally, violating other traffic violations, like speeding, can warrant a roadside inspection. It’s always best to obey the law to limit the chances of these surprise visits. If an impromptu inspection does arise, then remember to remain pleasant and have all of your documentation easily accessible.

Don’t Overlook Any Inspection Items

During the pre-trip inspection, some drivers may rush the process and overlook these critical eight items:

For drivers that use an eLog such as what Azuga provides, be sure and have at least one hardcopy of the logbook as a trusty backup. Another missed component of pre-trip inspection is the expiration dates of one’s commercial driver’s license and the safety inspection approval sticker. Verify that these items are current or renew them a.s.a.p. if needed.

Key Takeaways

The key to a successful pre-trip inspection is to take your time. Methodically work your way around each section of your truck and perform each check per category thoroughly. It’s vital to ensure the safety of your drivers, vehicle, products and the lives of others on the road.

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