Vehicle Inspection Reports: What to Look for and Where to Find Them

by Vector | Mar 19, 2020 12:00:00 AM

If you're a logistics provider and you own a fleet, you know that vehicle inspections are part of your routine. And for each vehicle inspection, you receive a report: the vehicle inspection report.
This post will take you on a ride through typical vehicle inspection reports. If you've never paid attention to that document, today is the day you'll learn all about them. Get ready, set, go!

Vehicle Inspection Reports: What to Look for and Where to Find Them

A First Glance at Vehicle Inspection Reports

Technicians must test motor vehicles to verify whether they're in good shape to hit the road or not. And that testing evaluates things on two fronts:

  • Environment. The vehicle cannot be a source of environmental pollution and emit large amounts of CO2.
  • Safety. The vehicle cannot be a threat to individuals, other vehicles, and road infrastructures.

Once technicians test your vehicle, you'll receive a vehicle inspection report with the results. Vehicle inspection reports should contain a description of the inspected parts and, if applicable, the type of rejection.

In the next three sections, you'll learn about what happens after a vehicle inspection. Let's start with the best scenario.

Green Light: Inspected Vehicle With Approved Result

Imagine a bee. It must be well-nourished and its wings must be in good condition to transport pollen to the hive.

The bee corresponds to your vehicle and the pollen to cargo. Just as a bee must be in good shape to carry pollen, your vehicle also must be in good shape to carry cargo.

If your vehicle passes the inspection, you've got a healthy bee. The corresponding vehicle inspection report will reflect that result. Every vehicle owner wants a positive inspection result—it means there's nothing more to do before you get back on the road.

Next, you have the intermediate scenario for your vehicle inspection reports.

Yellow Light: No Driving Ban for Inspected Vehicle

Different types of vehicle inspection rejections exist, some of which are more severe than others. The first we'll analyze is the least severe.

No Need for Reinspection

Check your vehicle inspection report for the severity of the problems. If the problems detected during your vehicle inspection aren't very severe, the report will say that they don't need to be corrected for safe operation of your vehicle. You won't need a follow-up inspection, either. But you'll still need to fix those problems. And you can't take more than a reasonable amount of time to do it.

Above all, don't trust luck! If the police pull you over and you haven't repaired your vehicle, you'll have to take it to be reinspected.

Need for Reinspection

On the other hand, if the problems with your inspected vehicle are more serious, two things will need to happen:

  • You'll have to repair your vehicle's problems within a specified amount of time.
  • Your vehicle will then need a reinspection.

If your vehicle inspection report specifies these more serious problems with your vehicle, you shouldn't drive it until you repair those problems.

Similar to the previous scenario, don't press your luck! In the absence of a reinspection, your vehicle isn't approved to be on the road.

Alternatively, you can take your vehicle to an accredited or approved repair shop and so avoid the reinspection. That shop repairs the vehicle, reinspects it, and sends a certificate of reinspection to the transportation agency. But beware! If the transportation agency doesn't approve the certificate, again, your vehicle isn't approved for travel.

Red Light: Driving Ban for Inspected Vehicle

What if your vehicle proves unsafe for the road, according to the vehicle inspection report? Well, you'll have to transport your vehicle directly to a repair shop with a tow truck.

After the repair, you must take your vehicle straight to the inspection station. Your vehicle is considered out of service until it passes a reinspection.

Now, let's go deeper into a special kind of vehicle inspection report.

Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) demands the inspection of every commercial motor vehicle daily, after the driver's shift. This inspection results in a driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR).

Government regulations are extremely important for fleet management. But that's not all. DVIRs keep drivers safe and vehicles operational. And they prevent costly fines.

To ensure compliance with the DOT's demand and to learn how to handle DVIRs, read on.

DOT's Vehicle Inspection Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines the requirements of a DVIR. It's a legal document, so even if you've never seen it, you can already imagine how dense it is. But here's some good news: this post can help you to better understand the requirements of a DVIR!

At the end of each workday, drivers must inspect your fleet's vehicles—those are DOT post-trip inspections.

A DVIR lists any safety-compromising defects drivers found while inspecting your vehicles. When they find and report defects, you must correct them and indicate the repair's date in the DVIR. You must also sign the DVIR to acknowledge the repair. While you may argue that repairing some defect is unnecessary, you should only do so if it doesn't compromise road safety!

In addition to DOT post-trip inspections, you have DOT pre-trip inspections. The latter include those that a driver performs before a commercial motor vehicle starts operating. They involve reviewing the previous DVIR, repairing the defects reported in it, and signing the document.

So, what's the difference between a DVIR and the vehicle inspection reports we talked about earlier in the post? Every motor vehicle must go through an inspection every 12 months. But for commercial vehicles, drivers must fill out a DVIR every day.

It would be really helpful to know which vehicle parts drivers need to inspect, wouldn't it? Have a look at the next section.

Use a DVIR Checklist

One way for drivers to know which parts of your vehicles to inspect is by reading the DOT's regulation. That regulation specifies quite an exhaustive list of parts, such as

  • The parking brake
  • The steering mechanism
  • Lights and reflectors
  • The horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Wheels
  • Emergency equipment
  • Rear vision mirrors

Since the number of parts is high, drivers should use a DOT post-trip inspection checklist to avoid skipping parts. You should also organize the checklist into sections that correspond to areas of the vehicle to inspect. No need to indicate the passing inspected parts in the DVIR —only list the defects that represent a danger to others.

If regulations aren't your preferred source of recreational reading and you need to create a DVIR, you can simply use DVIR templates, like the one from the DOT. Alternatively, you may use those available at or At Your Business. Just make sure the template you choose is compliant with the DOT's regulation.

Moreover, you might use software to improve the effectiveness of drivers' daily vehicle inspection reporting. Here's more about how you can do that.

How Software Can Help You

Software that has an electronic DOT post-trip inspection checklist and additional features can help you to

  • Streamline the process of filling in DVIRs so that drivers can do it quicker.
  • Prevent drivers from skipping parts when inspecting your vehicles.
  • Ensure that drivers are filling in the required DVIRs.
  • Make sure you repaired your vehicles, as the DVIR must contain the repair's date and an acknowledgment signature.

Automated driver workflow management software can help you manage DVIRs digitally. Isn't that great? Further, drivers can fill in DVIRs via mobile applications.

Cut through complexity and free your trucking operations from paper - learn  more about building your ideal tech stack here.

Things to Remember

To sum up, all commercial motor vehicles must undergo inspections every single day. Consequently, you, as a fleet manager at a logistics company, must ensure the whole process goes smoothly.

The inspection process of commercial motor vehicles revolves around the DVIR. That document declares whether or not the vehicle contains defects that compromise the safety of drivers, individuals on the street, other vehicles, and road infrastructures. And if drivers find some defect during the inspection, you'll need to repair that defect. In certain cases, your vehicles will need a reinspection or be placed out of commission.

Drivers should use an inspection checklist to avoid skipping parts when inspecting your vehicles. Additionally, you may use DVIR templates that are compliant with the DOT's regulation.

Finally, always remember that you can use software. That will allow drivers to fill in DVIRs more quickly and efficiently, without skipping parts that require inspection or overlooking required repairs. Plus, some software enables drivers to fill in DVIRs via mobile applications. It's worth exploring further!

This post was written by Sofia Azevedo. Sofia has most recently taught college-level courses in IT, ICT, information systems, and computer engineering. She is fond of software development methods and processes. She started her career at Philips Research Europe and Nokia Siemens Networks as a software engineer. Sofia has also been a product owner, working in the development of software for domains such as telecom, marketing, and logistics.

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