What Steps Are Required In Pre-Trip, En-Route, And Post-Trip Inspections According To The Law?
The FMCSA places certain responsibilities on both the employer and driver to verify the CMVs operated on the highways are in good working order. These include pre-trip, en-route, and post-trip responsibilities.
Prior to driving, the driver must feel satisfied that the following parts and accessories are “in good working order”: (1) service brakes, including trailer brake connections; (2) parking (hand) brakes; (3) steering mechanism; (4) lighting devices and reflectors; (5) tires; (6) horn; (7) windshield wiper; (8) rear-vision mirrors; and (9) couple devices. In addition to these parts and accessories, the driver must also be satisfied that the following required emergency equipment is in place and ready for use: fire extinguishers, spare fuses, and warning devices. Finally, prior to driving, the driver must make sure that the vehicles cargo is properly distributed and secured, all doors, tires, and tailgate are secured, and the cargo does not obscure the driver’s view.
While the en-route requirements are not as intensive as the pre-trip requirements, they are still crucial to the safe travel of the CMV. These en-route requirements include the driver performing periodic cargo inspections during the trip. These cargo inspections must be completed within the first 50 miles of the driver and at every change in duty status, or after every 3 hours, or after every 150 miles. It is noteworthy to mention that en-route inspections are not required if the CMV is sealed and the driver was ordered not to open it.
The post-inspection report, AKA driver’s vehicle inspection report (DVIR), must be completed after each drive. At a minimum, the report must cover all of the parts and accessories examined in the pre-trip inspection. Furthermore, the report must contain the date and vehicle ID, a list of any vehicle defects, a way to indicate if there were no defects, and spaces for 3 signatures (driver, motor carrier or mechanic or other agent, and the reviewing driver’s signature stating the defects have been fixed).