I doubt that the US will change their position on having drivers flagging a pre-trip inspeciton but who knows?
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An attorney laid all the inspection information out in one page! I kind of liked this instead of going to this reg and this reg.
Thought I would share this information with you! I know nothing of this attorney so do not even think I am using him, I am simply looking up articles on drivers who have been in some trouble over logs etc.
A fuel leak on the engine is possibly one of the most dangerous, resulting in an impaired driver, if they don't catch it and have it repaired. Another thing is storing volatile chemicals, fuel treatment and solvents anywhere in the truck and having them leak from their container, the stuff is poisonous.
I want to wade into this, because for years I have seen conflict on the subject in regard to inspections that the driver is supposed to perform, and throughout the years different companies have different requirements, even though the rules are rather clear on the subject of pre-trip and post-trip inspections. But as usual, the rules as they are written cloud the issue as well, because they are designed and taylored to specific types of operation.
The rules as written, so many times, never seem to quite fit Over-The-Road driving (OTR). Many OTR drivers never change tractors, and some never change trailers. So, as will be detailed later, the requirements seem to be in conflict with what is expected by law enforcement and field agents, and those charged with enforcing the rules don't often understand the inspection provisions.
Pre-trip inspections are to be performed at the start of the driver's day. OTR drivers are determined to be starting their day when they complete a ten hour break. The tractor and trailer are both to be inspected. At any point that you are to begin to operate a vehicle (tractor or trailer) that you have not previously inspected during the day, a pre-trip is required to be performed.
Now...while you are required to perform a pre-trip inspection under these circumstances, the rules do not require a driver to have to fill out any written evidence that you have performed a pre-trip inspection, as in the form of an inspection sheet. There is no rule that states that you must do anything but to know how to perform a pre-trip inspection, and to perform it under the criteria above. It is always a good practice to note in your logbook that you have performed a pre-trip at any point where you are required to perform a pre-trip inspection, and in the remarks section note any different vehicle numbers that you operate during that 24 hour period at the time you change vehicles, with any variation of abbreviation such as, "PTI TRL ###", or "Pre-trip Trailer ###", "PTI Trk ###" or Pre-trip Truck ###".
If the motor carrier DOES require you to fill out an inspection sheet, then by all means, there is nothing wrong with that. It's a measure, although not required by the FMCSA, to demonstrate to anyone that asks if you have performed a pre-trip, that you indeed did, or at least took the time to fill out a form stating that you did. Because of the confusion that exists out on the road that a driver may encounter with enforcement, it's not a bad idea to fill out a sheet each day. I personally do it, just in case.
Post-trips are trickier, and the requirements confuse so many. The rules DO require written forms to be filled out in regard to post-trips and there are requirements for them to be available for road inspectors and in the truck. For those that have one inspection form accompanying their log for the day, it is at the END of the day that this is to be filled out. This is referred to as the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) and covered under regulation §396.11.
When you are asked by law enforcement for an inspection form or a DVIR, what you are supposed to show them is the one prepared for the PREVIOUS day, signed by the driver that operated the power vehicle you are driving TODAY. If the vehicle(s) noted on the inspection form were signed by the previous driver as being a-okay at the end of the day, nothing more need be noted by you or anyone else on that DVIR.
If the driver who previously operated the vehicle, if that was not yourself, made any notations that repairs were needed, then a signature by either a representative of the motor carrier, yourself as the current driver, or by a representative of any outside repair facility (if this is who made the repairs) is required to be on that same inspection form, stating that the previously noted repairs were performed, and that the vehicle is now safe to operate.
How do you know if the vehicle is considered unsafe to operate? The FMCSA has finally published their criteria that outlines what is determined to be a vehicle that should not be operated, and considered unsafe. This is covered in Appendix G.
It's rather complicated, as you will see, but most drivers are capable of determining rather easily when a truck and trailer is unsafe to drive, and is in need of repair before it is driven again. It may be that you will encounter a need for immediate repair during your day, and you will note all of this in the DVIR you fill out at the end of your day. One thing to note here, also due to confusion, is that the FMCSA criteria allows you to have minor instances of marker lighting to be inoperative, one headlight inoperative, one brake light inoperative, but NO turn signals to be inoperative. Keep in mind though, that state laws in regard to lighting may differ. CVSA requirements, those that road level inspectors enforce, also differ somewhat. You may receive a citation or an inspection noting the defects, if stopped for a road level inspection. In some cases, you may even be put out-of-service for a headlight or brake light being inoperative, depending on the time of the day. So taking care of the defect as soon as humanly possible is essential. Many inspectors will not be very sympathetic, if you passed a truckstop five miles back, failing to replace a burned out headlight.
If you change POWER UNITS only during the day, you must fill out a separate inspection form for each power unit. If you only change trailers, you do not have to fill out a separate inspection form for that day. A DVIR that lists a defective trailer that you today, are not pulling, does not require a certification by anyone that repairs have been made. The motor carrier is to have on file, certification that the needed repairs have been made.
You are required to turn in copies of all DVIR's at the end of the day, or when you arrive at your terminal. For drivers that drive a truck each day that is or was operated by another driver, you must have the previous day's DVIR in that truck, filled out by that driver, and completed and signed if any repairs needed were noted by that previous driver before you begin to drive it. You can certify that the repairs have been made. Make sure you have it.
OTR driver will likely have assigned trucks, and will drive the same truck day in and day out, so you only have to remember to fill out the form at the end of the day, and to turn them in as the company requires you to do, by mail or in person as you arrive at a terminal. You again, can certify all repairs having been made, if you note them on any DVIR. The rules do not require anyone who certifies repairs, to have any specific knowledge in regard to mechanical repairs....only that you know they have been made.
So...now that the rules are clarified, what's the best way to assure that you are in compliance at all times? My advice is to fill out an inspection report each day, both at the beginning and at the end of the day. You're covered if an inspector asks for proof of a pre-trip, and a post-trip inspection. Arguing with them is never going to get you anywhere, even if you can point them to the rules.
A book of inspection forms is cheap. It's a lot cheaper than enduring a ticket from an inspector that is misinformed, or teed off because you pointed him or her in the right direction, and he decides to ruin your day anyway. Hey...no one likes to be proven wrong, and they are human too.
Turn in your post-trip inspections for sure. Those are required by the rules to be on file at the main office of the motor carrier for three months. If your company does want two inspection forms turned in each day, then do that too. After all, theres nothing that states that a company cannot require you to write a report of your pre-trips.
Oh, and just so you know...whether you write up a report of a pre-trip or not, you can and most likely will be written a ticket by a road level inspector, if a defect is found that should have been caught by the driver in a pre-trip inspection. So actually doing your inspections is good practice. Don't assume that just because all was good a day or so ago, that something has not happened.
I pulled a trailer recently that had absolutely no brake issues, but something caught my eye when I was doing my walk-around check. A brake chamber had the tension spring just barely sticking out of the housing. The metal housing had eroded from rust to the point that it was weak and had cracked. The chamber was amazingly still working, but extremely dangerous nonetheless, and I called for road service to change the brake chamber before the spring came all the way out of the housing. I shudder to think what an inspector would have done, had he or she been the first to see it. I'd probably be mortgaging my home to pay the fine.
Worse, what would have happened if I had not caught it, the housing had further failed and the thing projected itself out with force when I applied the brakes somewhere. It could have killed someone if they happened to be walking by.
Be it pre-trip, or post-trip...those inspections are important and not required for no reason. It's a sensible way that we can all assure that our and the public's safety is in check.
Turbo: You said it better than I could have ever said it! It is just such a topic and like you said confusing!
Most are confused on which to log on line 4. That is always the biggest question and everyone has a different answer!
I always tell them to do a thorough inspection and to always do a good walk around prior to make sure, so to me both should be on line 4.
I really wish DOT would comment on each document (toll, scale, pre & post) on what they feel would be the "minimum" amount of time, but clearly state this does not mean log that amount of time. I think it would make things clearer for drivers & ME!
Great to have you back
He didn't cite his source of the "11 minute" theory. He only stated that there had been a timing of the fourteen step pre-trip guideline, and that was the unofficial standard. Who knew?
At the time, I had drivers that liked to flag both. He didn't give me too much grief, and finally settled on accepting at least ONE of them to take fifteen minutes. I went with his request to have drivers log fifteen minutes for the pre-trip inspection, and flag the post-trip.
Now also in those audits, I learned that all supporting documents for logs must fall within one hour, on either side of the entry, to the actual time that appeared on those documents. Again, this is not a written rule, but he was very clear on that point. Anything outside of an hour off is considered a falsification. His explanation, which made perfect sense, was to give the benefit of the doubt for that length in discrepancy of times, to allow for time zone errors.
Over the years, I have adopted a simple answer for people who ask how, or for the minimum period one should log an occurance that may be open to interpretation.
"You log the time that it actually took."
"You log the actual miles you drove."
"You log it to the nearest fifteen minutes that actually represents the time that the receipt states you were at that point."
Now here's a weird thing. As you may have seen, I am logging paperless and with an EOBR installed on the truck. We log to the nearest MINUTE on everything we do. There are no graph lines on the printed out for 15 minute entries. The graph is to the nearest hour, with the exact time printed with each entry.
I am not penalized if I forget to do a post-trip electronically. I can't forget to make an entry for a pre-trip electronically, but the post-trip is not required to be logged in the computer. We still fill out the sheets on paper and turn those in.
I attempt to never miss entering a post-trip, even at any point I change trailers, and I do make an electronic entry for those as well.
I haven't thought to inquire as to why that is, but our Safety Director is top notch, and she knows her stuff, so I was definitely surprised to hear that, considering that I routinely suffered notations when I did paper logs, because that was something that I routinely forgot at least once or twice a month.
Nothing in §395.15 addresses the issue, so it may be that the paper DVIR meets the requirements, and no electronic record is necessary....I dunno.
I always tell drivers if it takes you 1 hour to do a pre-trip then that is what you log! If it takes you 1 hour to do a post-trip that is what you log! Pretty simple to me to; although we of course have the drivers that want to save every minute (Understandibly why, but none the less illegal to do that) and do the very minimal!
So I really am not confused as to what I say, rather I am confused as to why it seems to always be an issue as to what they should do!
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