How well does your fleet inspect its vehicles? Inspections are important for two reasons: First, they reduce the risk of trouble when the vehicle is on the road, and second, they improve your chances of compliance. Remember, your fleet is required to inspect, maintain and repair its vehicles, and your pre-trip inspections are an important part of this.
The Importance of Inspections
Why should you make inspections part of your regular fleet maintenance schedule? While compliance may be your No. 1 concern, there are actually a number of benefits of inspections.
First, regular inspections will increase the expected life span of your vehicles. This can boost your return on investment and reduce the cost of replacement. These savings are significant!
Next, inspections reduce your drivers’ liability. If your driver performs the proper pre-trip inspection, and a problem happens on the road, the driver can’t be held liable for vehicle negligence. This, in effect, lowers the liability risk of your entire fleet.
Finally, fleet inspections reduce the risk of on-the-job failure and emergency repairs. During inspection, your drivers can find problems and fix them before they turn into a major repair issue.
What Fleet Inspections Are Required?
The FMCSA requires specific parts and equipment to be inspected for safe operation, and also requires that the inspection process is documented with accessible records. Required inspections include annual inspections, preventative maintenance inspections and pre-trip driver vehicle inspection reports. If your fleet and your fleet drivers are not staying current on inspections, you face the potential for hefty fines at a roadside inspection.
How to Improve Driver Compliance
Pre-trip fleet inspections are the responsibility of your drivers, and you need to know that your drivers are going to do these inspections thoroughly, each time they take the vehicle out. Here are some tips to help improve driver compliance:
Train them: Provide thorough training about inspections and their importance, and how a well-maintained vehicle impacts the driver’s earning potential.
Sign an agreement: Outline the responsibilities you want your drivers to handle with the inspections, and have them sign an agreement stating what will happen if they don’t.
Use electronic software for easy inspections: Electronic software that helps drivers inspect and record the inspection results will help make it an efficient and automatic part of the day, while also improving fleet compliance with FMCSA regulations.
The key here is to make it easy for your drivers to perform and record inspections while providing them with clear information about why it’s important and what will happen if they don’t comply.