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How to emphasize inspections in your fleet

June 4, 2024
While the mundanity of daily pre- and post-trip inspections can invite complacency, analyzing and gamifying the process are options to keep drivers and technicians engaged.

Fleets often use events like International Roadcheck and Brake Safety Week to bolster their vehicle inspection efforts, remind drivers of the importance of completing pre- and post-trip inspections, and even provide additional training on proper inspection procedures.

And while those types of events are great opportunities to shine a spotlight on the importance of inspections, the reality is that the importance of proper inspections should be a top priority every day.

The problem with a lot of things that get done routinely like vehicle inspections is that we can get complacent about giving them the attention they deserve, and sometimes this results in simply going through the motions. But going through the motions when it comes to vehicle inspections can have very negative consequences.

If you want inspections to get the attention they deserve, there needs to be commitment starting at the top of the organization and cascading down to mangers, drivers, and technicians.

A good place to start in your efforts to make your inspections more effective is by reviewing your existing inspection procedures. How easy is it for drivers to complete the inspection form? Is it laid out in a sequential manner so that that driver can walk around the truck in a logical order?  

Conduct a pre- or post-trip inspection yourself to see how easy or difficult it is to complete and then make changes that will streamline the process. Also tweak the form to put extra emphasis on issues that are showing up repeatedly in your service department. Catching these problems before trucks leave the yard can cut down on roadside repairs.

If you are still using paper inspection forms, consider moving them to an electronic version that a driver can complete using a tablet or smart phone. The more convenient it is for the driver to complete the inspection, the more likely it is to be given the attention it deserves.

Read more: Don’t overlook trailer maintenance

Stress the fact that the post-trip inspection is as important some might argue more important — than the pre-trip inspection. A problem found during the post-trip inspection gives technicians time to repair the issue before the truck needs to go back on the road. Problems found during a pre-trip inspection could have you scrambling to find a substitute truck if the problem is one that requires time to fix. Those found on a post-trip inspection allow you more time to either resolve the problem or make alternate plans without the pressure of needing to meet a delivery deadline.

Make sure your technicians are paying close attention to what drivers are reporting on their Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs). Driver complaints should be taken seriously and addressed in the shop, not glossed over.

While pre- and post-trip inspections may seem basic, it is a good idea to periodically conduct a refresher course in the proper way to conduct them. You also might consider gamifying inspections from time to time by hiding notes that promise coupons for company swag or gift certificates for fast food restaurants at various inspection points on the vehicle. Set it up so that the driver needs to bring the notes to the office to claim their winnings. This will help you determine which drivers are doing a thorough job with inspections and which may need some additional training.

Pre- and post-trip inspections not only help ensure trucks are safer on the road, but they also can help avoid fines when a vehicle is pulled over for an inspection. In addition, the best fuel economy is achieved by vehicles that are in the best operating condition. With diesel prices where they are today, getting the most miles from a gallon of fuel should be a top priority.


Denise Rondini is president of Rondini Communications, a full-service communications firm specializing in the trucking industry. She has 40 years of experience in the trucking industry as editor of several industry publications, and is currently also NACFE’s director of communications. She is also the recipient of SAE International’s 2019 Environmental Excellence in Transportation Award.

About the Author

Denise Rondini | Director of Communications

Denise Rondini is NACFE’s director of Communications. Her responsibilities include handling NACFE’s internal and external communications efforts as well as media relations. She also is on the teams that develop confidence and guidance reports. Denise has 40 years of experience in the trucking industry as editor of several industry publications. She is also president of Rondini Communications, a full-service communications firm specializing in the trucking industry. She is the recipient of SAE International’s 2019 Environmental Excellence in Transportation Award.

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