How DVIRs Improve Fleet Maintenance

The way fleets handle vehicle inspections is always changing. Until recently, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers in the U.S. were required to fill out vehicle inspection reports at the end of every haul, regardless of whether their vehicle had mechanical issues. Given that these reports were often conducted on paper, the potential for mistakes, waste, and extra work for back-office and maintenance teams alike—began to take a toll.

Today, Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) are far more useful and practical.  Inspections  completed on drivers’ tablets make it easier for fleets to track, manage, and integrate vehicle data across their apps for expedited communications and faster resolution of maintenance issues.

A Brief History: What is a DVIR?

The roots of the DVIR stretch back more than 80 years, originating with the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission. Created in 1887 to regulate the railroad industry, this government agency declared vehicle owners responsible for vehicle safety. As the commission’s authority extended to the trucking industry, this perspective shaped modern DVIR requirements. For decades, commercial vehicle drivers had to write reports listing any defects or deficiencies which could affect vehicle safety or result in mechanical breakdown. These DVIRs were  required after every trip, even for vehicles with no defects to report.

In 2014, the FMCSA rescinded the “no-defect” DVIR requirement, only requiring drivers to report defects discovered during their shift (with the exception of passenger-carrying CMVs still under previous guidelines). According to the FMCSA, non-passenger-carrying CMV drivers spent 46.7 million hours each year completing no-defect DVIRs, monetized at $1.7 billion. The FMCSA stated these hours could be used more efficiently for other purposes without impacting fleets’ operational safety.

How DVIRs Improve Fleet Maintenance

This new approach to DVIRs – along with the adoption of digital DVIR tools – helps fleet managers increase vehicle inspection  efficiency, identify and complete needed repairs, perform preventative maintenance, and extend fleet longevity.

DVIRs improve fleet maintenance in the following ways:

  • Early Detection of Vehicle Issues: DVIRs help drivers efficiently inspect their vehicles for issues before each trip so they can report potential problems early. They also enable maintenance teams to take preventative measures for avoiding future breakdowns while ensuring vehicles are in good working condition and compliant with safety regulations.
  • Regular Maintenance Scheduling: DVIRs help fleet managers track vehicle maintenance needs by recording all inspections and repairs. Regular services that extend the life of vehicles—like oil changes, tire rotations, and brake replacements— and improve overall performance are easier to track and schedule, making the most of maintenance crews’ time. Regular maintenance also reduces downtime for drivers and trucks by preventing costly repairs.
  • Integrated Maintenance Workflows: Integrating DVIRs with fleet maintenance software helps create closed loop maintenance plans by streamlining processes and creating efficiencies. Fleets that open communications between their drivers, maintenance, and management teams reduce confusion and establish clearer expectations and timelines, making status updates easier to share and keeping operations moving efficiently.
  • Improved Data Analysis: Collecting and analyzing DVIR data helps fleet managers identify patterns and trends in vehicle issues, leading to better planning for part replacement, vehicle purchasing, vendor selection, and more. Insight into real-world data also means smarter budgeting and scheduling, as well as greater fleet health for the long haul.
  • Driver Safety and Retention: The root cause of DVIR legislation remains the same: to support safer roads for CMV drivers and passenger vehicles. Properly maintained trucks reduce the possibility of part malfunctions during drive-time, and simplified DVIRs lighten drivers’ workloads by helping them complete shifts more efficiently. and easily perform pre-shift inspections with more confidence in the status of their vehicles.

Key Features to Look for in DVIR Software

The list of potential maintenance and safety benefits from DVIRs is long. Today’s top DVIR software tools make completing DVRs easier than ever and subsequently provide rich data to maintenance, back-office, and management teams. When choosing a DVIR software tool, there are several key features you should ensure are included:

  • Customizable Inspection Checklists: Make sure your tool allows you to create checklists that fit your fleet’s needs. Preset report categories help drivers easily complete forms while ensuring reporting language and terminology are consistent across reports. Look for features like “Defect Only” flows that prevent drivers from tapping through unnecessary fields.
  • Ease of Use: Choose DVIR software that is intuitive and easy to use on drivers’ tablets. Look for a wizard-like interface that simplifies forms and saves your drivers time and headaches. Autosync options populate data like driver ID, tractor ID, driver name, odometer readings, and license plate information.
  • Integration with Fleet Management Tools: Records should be easily integrated into your overall fleet management system and accessible from other parts of your business as needed. You should also be able to store and retain DVIR data to meet FMCSA and DOT regulations and import DVIR data directly into your maintenance system to close the loop on repairs.
  • Photo Support: Uploading photos of vehicle or load defects directly from drivers’  tablets makes filing accurate reports easier. These photos help maintenance teams verify and understand issues in advance, assisting with the preparation of parts and repairs as soon as the vehicle returns for service.
  • Compliance Features: Built-in compliance tools help ensure all required forms are completed accurately and compliance is maintained. Features like digital third signature capture help drivers complete their portions of maintenance sign-off processes and get their vehicles back on the road more quickly. 

More Accurate, Efficient DVIRs for Better Fleet Operations

DVIRs will continue to play an important role in keeping fleets maintained and optimized for safe operation on the roads. Reducing the headaches involved with inspections while keeping data quality high enables fleet managers and staff to perform their roles more effectively by strengthening the connections between drivers’ cabs, maintenance bays, and the back office.

Want to learn more? Explore Platform Science’s powerful and easy-to-use DVIR software tools.