DVIR Forms - Paper vs Electronic DVIRs

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Updated: July 17, 2019

It’s human nature - when we’ve been doing something the same way, day after day, year after year, it becomes a blind spot. We don’t stop to think about it unless something forces us to. That’s what happened in the United States with the ELD mandate that is now being enforced, requiring mandatory electronic logging of hours of service (HOS) since December 2017.

Along with the HOS going digital, it’s time to rethink paper-based driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) as well.

A daily chore for millions of commercial motor vehicle drivers, filling in DVIR forms by hand as part of their pre-trip or post-trip inspection is just one of those compliance tasks that we didn’t argue about. The legislation demanded it and we just got it done.

While Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) compliance (Ruling 396.11) still requires DVIRs for commercial vehicle operators, the technology is now here to automate the record-keeping process and turn it paperless.

Benefits of electronic vehicle inspection reports

Electronic vehicle inspection reports provide vast benefits to both commercial truck drivers and fleet managers. Benefits of electronic daily logs include:

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  • Faster inspections - Electronic DVIRs are just quicker. Forget trying to find a form (the right form), a pen (that works) and complete a paper form, often repeating the same information each time such as name and truck number. Even finding the last DVIR form completed on something like a trailer can be time-consuming. The completed form then needs to be filed and reviewed by someone for safety defects.
  • Minimize errors - Both drivers and fleet managers need to be able to read the DVIR; drivers to sign off on the last report and back office to review the report, pass on to maintenance personnel when necessary and file it. Handwritten reports and manually filing increase the chance of errors and time lost searching or purging reports.
  • Easier reporting - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations requires that at least three months of DVIRs be available on request for the purpose of reviews and audits. With the FMCSA putting more effort into cracking down on safety related issues and most CSA scores getting hit due to vehicle maintenance problems, all fleets should be well-prepared for a review.
  • Quicker turnaround on repairs - Defect reports are routed to the service department in near real-time for attention and scheduling repairs. Photos included with the report speed up investigation and isolating the fault. This is imperative for safety-related faults to reduce downtime and promote safe operation of commercial fleet vehicles.
  • Electronic DVIR app - The app uses existing iOS or Android devices; no special hardware or inspection tools are required. Drivers simply install the app on their smartphones and complete the electronic form. Photos can be used to verify visual inspection or included for the maintenance team, and the report signed off with a digital signature on the touchscreen. 
  • Create customized forms for specialized inspections - Different vehicles, trucks, trailers or equipment often require their own custom inspection form. Electronic DVIRs makes it easy to duplicate and modify existing forms to suit, as well as attaching the necessary DVIR form to the asset being inspected - no more completing the wrong form.

It’s not just about replacing one system with another - it’s about taking advantage of recent tech advances to stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry.

Electronic DVIRs - The savings stack up

Pause to think how many daily vehicle inspection reports your commercial drivers complete each day. A single driver can be filling in several; one for each different vehicle, trailer or piece of equipment they operate. Multiply that by the number of drivers and the number of working days in the year, and you begin to appreciate the scale of how much a fleet can benefit from switching to an eDVIR on a daily basis.

It’s not just about saving time on inspections and data entry or money spent on stationery but improving the efficiency of your driver’s time - they would much rather be behind the wheel being productive than ploughing through paperwork. When you remember that you’re ‘not earning if the wheels aren’t turning’ then you’d prefer that too.

Electronic DVIRs and fleet management software

Switching from paper DVIR forms to an electronic driver vehicle inspection reports is also easier with a GPS fleet tracking solution for several reasons.

  • No special hardware - You don’t need an inspection tool or specialized hardware with electronic DVIRs. Just use any popular Apple or Android handheld device. This minimizes the need for training or purchasing hardware.
  • Cloud-based software - No changes to your current IT setup or software to install with our web-based/Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. You can access all your eDVIR reports by simply logging into your secure account from anywhere with an Internet connection.
  • Everything you need - Dealing with multiple vendors can add significant overhead to your internal processes. Our GPS vehicle tracking solution is unique, providing fleets of any size with a comprehensive suite of applications that easily scale as companies grow. Fleet management, route planning, dispatch, work order management, navigation and compliance - all from one provider. API integration is also available to integrate with your existing software such as a maintenance ticketing program.
  • No. 1 in innovation - Our GPS tracking solution has been independently judged as the most innovative connected vehicle technology provider for two years running. What this means for you is you can rely on our solutions to evolve and adapt to make your job easier and more productive.

All that’s left to do is decide how soon you want to get rolling. Our consultants can help walk you through the process and answer any questions you have.

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