If you work within the sphere of truck operation or maintenance, you already know the importance of routine inspections. Both pre- and post-trip inspections not only help your fleet to operate more efficiently and safely, but they can also help to identify potential problems before costly repairs are needed.
In fact, inspections are so important that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has designated trucking regulations that address the topic. These can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations under Section 396. Even though the Code spells out inspection regulations, myths still abound in the trucking industry regarding what’s required and what’s not required.
According to Overdrive Online, the following are two common trucking law myths that have been busted regarding your inspection obligations:
Drivers have to complete a pre-trip inspection report.
Your company can create requirements for pre-trip inspections and reports, but you are not required to do so. Overdrive Online states, “For post-trip reports, 49 C.F.R. 396.11 mandates that a motor carrier require its drivers to prepare a written report ‘at the completion of each day’s work on each vehicle that the driver operates.’ This post-trip report must list defects in parts and accessories identified in the regulation, such as tires and windshield wipers, and the report must be submitted to the carrier. However, if there are no defects, no report is required.”
Driver pre-trip inspections must be documented as at least 15 minutes on the log.
Time logged must be accurate per FMCSA . This means that if an inspection takes five minutes, noting it as 15 minutes or intentionally taking longer to meet an arbitrary time is a violation of trucking law. As far as actual trucking regulations are concerned, the driver simply needs to be satisfied that the truck and trailer are in good working order.