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The Drivers Daily Vehicle Inspection (DVIR) is part of a driver’s daily responsibility to protect themselves, the motoring public, and the equipment they operate. But does your driver know the difference between a “defect” & a “safety sensitive” defect?

Drivers and technicians need to understand the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations contained in CFR 399 Appendix G that defines “safety sensitive” defects that would render the unit out of service during a pre- or post-trip inspection.

Here is the Guidance for FMCSA CFR 396.11:

Question 6: Does §396.11(c) require a motor carrier to effect repairs of all items listed on a DVIR prepared by a driver before the vehicle is subsequently driven?

Guidance: The motor carrier must affect repairs of defective or missing parts and accessories listed in Appendix G to the FMCSRs before allowing the vehicle to be driven.

The Drivers Daily Inspection Processes are a requirement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to ensure the vehicle is in safe operating condition.

A crucial part of each driver’s daily operation is to inspect the commercial vehicle they are operating.  Over the years there has been confusion regarding pre- and post-trip inspections.  Let us start with the pre-trip inspection.   FMCSA regulations CFR 396.13 state that before driving a motor vehicle, the driver shall:

(a)         Be satisfied that the vehicle is in safe operating condition.
(b)         Review the last driver vehicle inspection report; and
(c)          Sign the report, only if the driver who prepared the report, to acknowledge that the driver has reviewed it and that there is a certification that the required repairs have been performed, noted defects or deficiencies.  The signature requirement does not apply to listed defects on a towed unit, which is no longer part of the vehicle combination.

Does the pre-trip inspection need to be documented?  Although the pre-trip is not required by regulation to be documented, it is a good idea to document the inspection; I recommend that the pre-trip inspection be “flagged” on the driver’s record of duty status in the “Grid” section.

Now let us take a look at the post trip inspection.  The FMCSA CFR 396.11 requires that every driver report, and prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day’s work on each vehicle operated and that report (DVIR) shall cover the following parts and accessories:

(a)         Service brakes including trailer brake connections
(b)         Parking (hand) brake
(c)          Steering Mechanism
(d)         Lighting devices and reflectors    
(e)         Tires
(f)          Horn
(g)         Windshield Wipers
(h)         Rear vision mirrors
(i)          Coupling devices
(j)          Wheels and rims
(k)         Emergency equipment

The report shall identify the vehicle and list any defect or deficiency in the vehicle that would affect the safe operation of the vehicle or cause a mechanical breakdown.  95% of all driver inspections do not have defects. In 2014 the Obama administration to save trees, removed the regulation that a driver documents the post trip inspection even if there are no defects.  However, most companies still require the driver to complete and sign the DVIR upon completion even with no defects.

Now if there are defects or deficiencies noted by the driver the motor carrier is required to correct or cause to have corrected the defects or deficiencies of the CMV prior to allowing or permitting the operation of the vehicle.  Does this mean all defects and deficiencies must be corrected?  NO, only those as outlined in appendix G of the FMCSR that would directly affect the safe operation of the CMV.  Technicians, drivers and service managers should all become familiar with appendix G to determine which defect/deficiencies must be corrected immediately and which can be held off until the next PM or later date.  Once the defect /deficiency(s) have been corrected the original DVIR is required to be “certified” as corrected or that the correction was unnecessary.  The DVIR is then to be signed by the repairing technician.  The “certification” is required to be on all copies of the DVIR.  The driver is to retain the previous days DVIR on the CMV and the motor carrier is required to maintain all DVIRs for ninety days.

If you have not reviewed appendix G of FMCSA CFR 399 with your drivers, I would recommend that you include this information in your next driver safety meeting.

Click here to read Appendix G.

To further assist your drivers with a quality pre-post trip inspection our Idealease Pre-Post Trip inspection driver training videos are available for both straight trucks and tractor trailers in both English and Spanish on YouTube.

Use the following links to access the training videos:

Tractor Trailer (19 min)
Straight Truck (18 min) 

Straight Truck (18 min)
Tractor Trailer (19 min)

Question of the Week

Will Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspectors be checking the newly established FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearing House to check the status of your driver during a roadside inspection?

Answer: Yes, click here to see the bulletin that was sent by the CVSA to enforcement personnel.

FMCSA Extends Emergency Declaration to May 31

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended its Emergency Declaration related to the COVID-19 national emergency through May 31, 2021.

Under the Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 public health emergency are granted emergency relief from Parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, except as otherwise restricted.

The extension of the expanded modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 and is limited to transportation of:

  • livestock and livestock feed;
  • medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
  • vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;
  • supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants; and
  • food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores. Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration.

Direct assistance means transportation and other relief services provided by a motor carrier or its driver(s) incident to the immediate restoration of essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies related to COVID-19 during the emergency.

FMCSA Extends and Modifies COVID-19 Waiver for CDLs and Med Cards

In response to the continued COVID-19 health emergency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is extending and modifying a waiver that covers expired drivers' licenses and medical certification.

The revised waiver is in effect March 1, 2021, and expires May 31, 2021, or upon the revocation of the Declaration of National Emergency, whichever is sooner. The previous waiver is due to expire on February 28, 2021.

Terms of the licensing waiver

The licensing portion of the waiver applies to interstate and intrastate commercial driver's license (CDL) and learner's permit (CLP) holders.

The waiver permits, but does not require, states to extend the validity of licenses due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The final decision is left to the discretion of individual states. Carriers and drivers should dialog with the state driver's licensing agency (SDLA) to learn whether FMCSA's waiver is applicable.

States opting to implement the relief provided by the waiver may extend licenses until May 31, 2021, delaying the requirements in §§383.73 and 383.25.

The waiver permits states to:

  • Extend CDLs due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, beyond the 8-year maximum period;
  • Extend CLPs due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, beyond the 1-year maximum without requiring the driver to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests; and
  • Waive the 14-day waiting period for CLP holders to take the CDL skills test.
  • The waiver does not apply to a CDL or CLP holder if the driver's privileges have been suspended or withdrawn for traffic offenses or if the driver is otherwise disqualified to operate a CMV.
  • Terms of the medical certification waiver
  • Drivers who are required to have a medical card (i.e., CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers) must meet specific criteria in order to extend their medical certification through May 31, 2021.

Under the revised waiver, a driver can qualify to get an extension on an expiring medical card if:

  • His or her existing medical card expired on or after December 1, 2020;
  • The existing medical card was issued for at least 90 days;
  • The driver has not been diagnosed with a disqualifying medical condition since the previous medical exam; and
  • The driver carries a copy of his or her expired medical certificate and any required variance.
  • CDL and CLP holders that qualify also are waived from the requirement to provide their SDLA with a copy of a new medical examiner's certificate before the previous certification expires. SDLAs have been waived from having to downgrade a CDL or CLP holder's license for failure to provide this proof of current medical qualifications.

Reporting accidents

Each motor carrier must notify FMCSA within five business days of an accident (as defined in §390.5), involving any CDL holder, CLP holder, or non-CDL driver operating under the terms of this waiver.

FMCSA reserves the right to revoke this waiver for drivers' involvement in accidents, motor carriers' failure to report accidents, and drivers' failure to comply with the restrictions of this waiver.