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DVIRs & Pre-Trip Inspections - How-to & Guide

October 28, 2023

Here we will share a checklist that simplifies and covers the key aspects of DVIR inspections that you need to be aware of, including pre-trip and post-departure inspections.

Table of Contents

Whether you’re learning about driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs), otherwise known as a driver's daily inspection report, for the first time or just need a reminder of all the aspects you need to be aware of, there’s a lot to remember.

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What are DVIRs?

DVIRs are reports that signify if a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) is in good working condition. The DOT & NSC mandate that inspections on commercial vehicles must be done at least every 7 days and as short as 4 days (94 hours) for some hazardous materials transport operations.

A DVIR can be completed by the driver or roadside inspectors who have been authorized by their respective regulatory agency. The most important element of a DVIR is that it must be documented and reported. If a truck company fails to maintain the DVIR, they can be fined and/or refused entry into Canada or the US. The report is also shared with any law enforcement agencies that may need it to prevent fatalities on our roads.

DVIR regulations, checklists, inspections, and more. Failing to do so may be detrimental not only for your company and you but for all the vehicles circulating on the streets. You could be fined several thousand dollars just for ignoring car inspections.

The Vehicle Inspection Report is the primary document required by CDL holders, and this document is used to document information about the vehicle being operated. It covers general information on the vehicle, such as:

  • the make of the vehicle
  • vehicle model
  • mileage (when last inspected)
  • condition of driving surfaces and tires on both the front and rear axles

The inspection report also provides information on safety features in a commercial vehicle, such as airbags, horns, brakes/parking brakes, and sun visors.

Who has to fill out DVIRs?

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) states on 49 CFR 396.11 that all motor carriers must require drivers to fill out a driver vehicle inspection report.

The day after which the driver of a motor vehicle is finished driving it, the driver shall prepare a report of any defects and whether these are stipulations in the law. The rules only apply to vehicles more than 10,000 pounds, or that carries hazardous substances marked as hazardous.

What's the risk of not complying?

DVIR penalties and actions are taken against a truck that fails to comply with the inspection regulations. Although these are not considered moving violations, a driver can be found liable for non-compliance. A DVIR violation can lead to civil penalties that may include the following:

  • Civil penalty up to $1270 in the US for each violation
  • Temporary or permanent disqualification
  • Negative impact on your CSA Score

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has federal and state authorities working together to secure compliance with the rules. State inspectors work with drivers on the road and verify compliance routines.

The DVIR must be completed by all truckers who operate in interstate commerce as they move goods across state lines. While they do not have the DVIR form in their possession when they go on a trip but may be required to produce it for inspection at any time.

DVIR requirements are subject to change as laws and regulations do. For this reason, drivers must remain up-to-date with all changes related to commercial driving safety.

DVIR Reporting Standards

Commercial drivers are required to have their vehicles inspected at least once every 7 days.

The inspection must happen within 24 hours of completion to address any deficiencies before the next trip.

If an accident occurs under circumstances that would make it probable another injury will happen, all drivers involved in that accident need to obtain a report immediately after the occurrence.

Suppose an inspection station cannot complete a DVIR because of defective equipment or lack of electronic access. In that case, one must be written up as soon as possible.

What do you need to check for your DVIR?

Drivers must perform a walk-around of the vehicle, including under the hood, to look for defects or damage, and also test for any issues with starting the vehicle. This is called a vehicle visual inspection, and it’s intended to ensure the vehicle is in safe operating condition.

Pre-trip inspection
A pre-trip inspection should be completed and signed off before any trip, and drivers need to report any safety violations they come across so that they can be addressed quickly by the carrier, safety managers, or dispatchers.


As an overview, drivers should always check the following as part of their DVIR:

  • All vehicle lights - including indicators & reflectors
  • Steering mechanism/wheel
  • Wheels, brakes, tires, and rims (2nd most frequently inspected by roadside inspection)
  • All side and rearview mirrors
  • Coupling equipment as well as fifth wheels
  • Safety equipment - ie. Fire extinguishers & first-aid kits
  • Window wipers

What happens if there are defects or an accident?

Defects or deficiencies that will impact the vehicle’s safe operation or lead to a breakdown must be reported. One of the penalties for not following the requirements is that the driver must get a new inspection immediately after an accident to prevent causing any other injuries. If the inspection isn’t completed, their insurance will lapse, and they could be fined.

Additionally, a DVIR inspection within 24 hours is also required if the driver’s license expires or if the vehicle has unsafe working conditions.

How can I complete a DVIR Process faster?

A fleet management app or ELD keeps all the records available while there’s roadside inspection, making DVIR compliance quick and easy. You may be able to submit faults to the platform and access the forms on your mobile devices and print it out.

When a DVIR is submitted through an ELD, there is no longer a need for any paperwork. Expect instant submissions as the driver completes the DVIR right on the app, and have access to all records in a few clicks.

Switchboard Technology and electronic DVIRs

DVIRs reports reflect the condition of a vehicle, highlighting any safety risks or mechanical problems for safety, compliance, and ultimately business concerns. As such, drivers need to understand their company’s DVIR policy to know what information needs to be documented to avoid fines or penalties and possible injury on the roadways.

Switchboard automates this process, simplifying the pre-trip and post-departure inspection process for drivers by embedding the steps required right in the app. It will also notify both drivers and managers if there are any post-trip inspection compliance issues or required repairs, so. Today, contact us for more information about how we offer end-to-end commercial driver inspection reports (DVIR) management services, including electronic reporting tools like our mobile app and web portal.

Get started today with Switchboard to smoothly manage your fleet operation business by simplifying pre-trip and post-trip inspection processes using our automated ELD.

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