Paper-based driver vehicle inspection reporting (DVIR) can be a real pain. But could electronic DVIR be the solution? And does your business need it?
If your business runs a fleet of vehicles, staying compliant with federal law should be a top priority. Driver vehicle inspection reporting (DVIR) plays a key role in this, with drivers required to inspect their vehicles every day to ensure they’re in good, safe working order.
Historically, these daily inspections have been logged on paper forms, which is fiddly – and a huge time-suck – for both you and your drivers. But now, the tech is out there for DVIRs to go digital – and to our minds, that’s nothing short of fantastic.
Read on, and we’ll explain why you should 86 the paper and adopt electronic vehicle inspection reports – ASAP. To help you get started, we’ll also reveal our favourite electronic DVIR apps, so you know which ones to try out. Let’s get going!
What is an Electronic Vehicle Inspection Report?
According to federal law, each of your drivers must complete a walk around check at the start (and sometimes the end) of every work day, visually inspecting their vehicle to make sure that everything is in good working order before they can get out on the road.
- Steering mechanism
- Lights and reflectors
- Rear view and side mirrors
- Wheels – including the tires and rims
- Windshield wipers
- Coupling equipment
- Fifth wheels
- Safety and emergency equipment
- Power unit (if it has one)
- Trailer (if it has one)
Your drivers will also need to identify the vehicle they’re inspecting – this could include filling out the vehicle’s:
- Make and model
- Identification number (VIN)
- License number
Drivers must also check the previous DVIR that was written up for their vehicle, to ensure any defects or problems that may have been noted have been fixed. If everything’s been sorted, the driver must also sign off this past report.
Using an electronic DVIR system – also known as an eDVIR system – your drivers will be able to fill out all of this information via a DVIR app on their own smartphone or tablet. The app will present them with all the info they need to check off, giving them the option to add notes when they spot something that looks faulty and needs to be checked out.
To give you a closer look at what’s so great about these systems from a driver’s perspective, we’ve compared this electronic DVIR process, step-by-step, to the more traditional, paper-based affair…
|A paper-based DVIR system||An electronic DVIR system|
|1. Your driver digs in their pocket/bag for the right form and a working pen.||1. Your driver whips out their smartphone or tablet, and opens their DVIR app.|
|2. Your driver writes out their vehicle’s VIN and license number for the umpteenth time.||2. Your driver’s vehicle’s VIN and license number are pre-populated in the electronic form, so they don’t need to worry.|
|3. Your driver carries out the inspection and fills out the paper form by hand, awkwardly leaning on their own thigh and hoping you’ll be able to read their writing.||3. Your driver carries out the inspection while quickly tapping the results into the app. If there’s a visible fault, they can even snap a photo and attach it to the report, giving you a clear view of the problem.|
|4. Your driver signs the form, and then hand delivers it to you, taking time out of their busy day to do so.||4. Your driver provides an electronic signature, then taps a button and – whoosh! – the inspection report appears on your dashboard.|
So, using an electronic DVIR app for vehicle inspection reporting clearly makes life easier for drivers – but what about for you, as the fleet manager or carrier?
Well, here are some of the reasons to introduce an electronic DVIR system to your business…
What are the Benefits of Using a DVIR App?
✓ Electronic DVIR systems are faster
Using an electronic DVIR system, your drivers can update records on the state of their vehicle in real-time. No need to wait for them to bring paper reports to you, and for you to then type them up into your computer system. Instead, your drivers’ findings are instantly delivered to your online dashboard.
This means there’s a much smaller lag between an inspection being carried out, and any necessary maintenance services being organized. And getting repairs sorted more quickly means less costly vehicle downtime for your business.
✓ Electronic DVIR systems are customizable
Electronic DVIR software gives you complete control over the checklists your business provides your drivers with. This lets you choose and easily edit the things you want your drivers to inspect, enabling you to tailor your checklists to specific vehicles.
✓ Electronic DVIR systems keep you compliant
Plus, staying on top of reporting and maintenance will also help you to avoid unexpected inspections or hefty fines from the Department of Transport (DOT) if they suspect your fleet safety isn’t up to scratch.
▶ Read more: The best DOT compliance software for fleets
✓ You won’t need to install new hardware
You and your drivers can install DVIR software onto your existing smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. The fact that it can be accessed from all these devices also gives drivers the freedom to conduct inspections wherever they are, and send you the results instantly.
✓ Electronic records are easier to find
Imagine you need to dig out an inspection report from several weeks back, or you need to carry out a review or an audit of past records.
Would you rather go flipping through stacks of files to pull out the right piece(s) of paper, or use a nifty search function that quickly brings up the correct report(s) on your screen?
✓ Electronic reports are durable
Paper is easily lost, torn, or otherwise damaged, while pen ink can smudge and fade. Electronic driver vehicle inspection reports last as long as you need them to.
✓ Electronic reports don’t take up space
By law, you have to keep DVIRs on-site for a minimum of three months after they’ve been completed. When you run a decent-sized fleet that’s out and about every day, that can amount to a lot of paper!
By contrast, storing all these records digitally won’t take up any much-needed space at your HQ. Plus, your business will be using (and throwing away) a lot less paper, which is a win for the environment as well as your office conditions.
✓ DVIR apps reduce the chance of human error
On an electronic DVIR, all the driver’s findings are set out before you in clear typeface. Trying to decipher a driver’s handwriting isn’t always so simple – and misinterpreting a word or two could mean paying for the wrong repair service.
The Best DVIR Apps: Our Top Picks
We’ve investigated the electronic DVIR apps on the US market, and have found that four of the best are:
- Whip Around
- Fleetio Inspections
Read on for our quickfire reviews of each, or let us help you find the right DVIR solution by requesting free quotes from a variety of suppliers!
With over 45,000 users around the world, Whip Around is a huge name in the game – which isn’t surprising, given how many features it boasts. Whip Around’s clean, good looking dashboard shows insightful analytics and leaderboards, and enables you to group drivers into teams, making it easier to manage a large fleet. Whip Around shows a clear list of faults against each vehicle, and sends scheduled maintenance reminders to help you keep your motors in tip top shape. What’s more, this app’s inspection form builder is a breeze, with both handy templates and the tools to build a list from scratch, as well as edit and duplicate them. Whip Around provides a basic package for free, a standard package for $6 per month, per vehicle, and a bespoke package.
Verizon’s DVIR software has a particular focus on ensuring your business is compliant – starting with your drivers. Based on the complexity of your checklist and the time your drivers spend on it, its clever system determines whether or not they’ve been thorough enough – thus keeping them at the top of their inspecting game. It also models its inspection checklists after their paper counterparts, meaning your drivers find them instantly familiar, minimizing the chances of error. Helpfully, if you already use Verizon Connect for fleet management, this app will fit seamlessly within your wider management strategy, giving you all the tools to succeed in one place.
If you run a fleet of commercial trucks, it’s certainly worth looking into a specialized solution – and KeepTruckin provides just that. Its DVIR iOS and Android app, Electronic Logbook, enables drivers to inspect vehicles wherever they are. Meanwhile, the system will send you real-time notifications whenever faults are reported, helping you to get problems fixed that much quicker. You’ll be able to easily search DVIRs by driver or vehicle, and filter your searches to only show vehicles with defects. Using KeepTruckin’s DVIR dashboard, you’ll be able to mark faults as ‘corrected’ or ‘need not be corrected’, and easily add signatures from the mechanics involved.
Fleetio’s DVIR system – Fleetio Inspections – provides simple and fast electronic checklists. Its reports present drivers with a choice of either ‘acceptable’ or ‘broken’ for each vehicle component, and enables them to add notes and photos easily. With Fleetio Inspections, you know your drivers will stay on top of their duties, as the app alerts them whenever inspections are due, and enables them to access the app even when they’re offline. Crucially, when the reports fall into your hands, you can speed them along the optimised workflows that you’ve set up using the software, ensuring faults are instantly reported to the right people.
Given the fact that they’re fast, intuitive, easy to use, and will help you to stay FMCSA-compliant without a headache (none of which can be said for a paper-based inspection reporting system), we’d recommend trying an electronic DVIR app to any fleet manager.
We’ve highlighted Whip Around, Verizon, KeepTruckin, and Fleetio as great DVIR software providers, but there are plenty of others out there. The best thing to do before settling on one is to compare your options to find the system that works best for you – and this is where we can help.
Simply tell us about your fleet by filling in our online form, and you’ll hear from DVIR app providers with quotes tailored to you and your needs. It’s fast and free – why not give it a go?