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Documenting post-trip vehicle inspections

Despite the fact that post-trip inspection reports have been required for many years, failure to prepare a post-trip inspection report continues to be one of the most cited critical violations found during DOT audits.

Are you properly documenting your post-trip inspections?

According to 49 CFR §396.11, each commercial motor vehicle driver (whether passenger-carrying driver or property-carrying) must prepare and submit a report if a “defect or deficiency is discovered by or reported to the driver.” This means that if a driver operates three commercial motor vehicles during the day and each one has a defect, then three DVIRs are required for that day. A single DVIR is adequate for any combination of vehicles, such as a tractor plus trailer, but note that trailers must be included on the DVIRs when a defect or deficiency is discovered by or reported to the driver on a trailing unit.

No DVIRs are required for single-vehicle operations.

The inspection report must cover the following* parts and accessories, at a minimum, although the written report itself does not have to list these items:

  • Service brakes including trailer brake connections
  • Parking (hand) brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear vision mirrors
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Emergency equipment

    *Additional requirements exist for intermodal equipment inspections.
The DVIR must contain:
  • An identification of the vehicle, such as the truck and/or trailer vehicle or license numbers;
  • A list of any defects or deficiencies which could affect vehicle safety or result in a breakdown; and
  • Spaces for the three required signatures.
Who has to sign the DVIR? In all cases, the driver who prepared it must sign it. This is the only signature required if no defects are noted. If a defect was noted, then a mechanic or other company official must sign it to indicate either that the vehicle has been repaired or that repairs are unnecessary. Finally, if a defect was noted, the next driver of the vehicle must sign the report.

The original DVIR must be kept for three months from the date it was prepared. Drivers are no longer required to carry DVIRs in the vehicle.