Never Skip a Pre-Trip Check

Neglecting to do pre- and post-trip vehicle checks makes you vulnerable to lost profits, breakdowns and accidents
Never Skip a Pre-Trip Check

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As a portable restroom operator, you know how important your vehicles are. Let’s face it: They are your most expensive assets. They are your biggest investment and they can do the most damage. Because of that, it is important that they are cared for and maintained, because the hardest pill to swallow is negligence. And that is why pre- and post-trip inspections are so important.

Not only are they part of DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, but they’re also what keeps your fleet on the road. When a driver doesn’t perform these checks, that forgetfulness leaves your company open to breakdowns or, worse, accidents. That is why you have to constantly stress the importance of them to all your operators.

Every truck in our fleet is assigned a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report book. This book is filled with forms, in triplicate, that cover every aspect of the truck. We require our drivers to fill out this form every day. Then they sign off on the form, giving one copy to our dispatcher and one to our mechanic. The third copy stays in the book, which remains in the truck at all times. 

The report begins with basic information. Truck number, location, date and time are all located at the top of the form. There is also a spot for the odometer reading, both beginning and ending. Since mileage is a huge part of your state and government reporting, it is crucial that drivers fill this out.

Beneath that is an extensive list of over forty items. Next to each item are three boxes you can check. One is the pre-trip list, one is the post-trip list and the final box is for items that need repairs. Some of the more basic items on the list are the windshield wipers, oil level, lights, etc. But the more important items like the vehicle’s brakes, steering and tires are never to be skipped over.

Some of these items do require basic knowledge of trucks and all their parts; otherwise drivers may not recognize a larger problem. We encourage our drivers to talk to the mechanic daily. This allows our drivers to keep the mechanic informed about any problems, and it also increases their knowledge about how their truck runs. 

These lists are then kept on file, in case we have a DOT inspection. We file them by truck, scanning them monthly. Digital files are easier to search, rather than digging through mountains of paperwork. After any repairs are done, the mechanic signs off on them and those copies are placed into our truck repair files. This is a great way to see how much a truck is costing you each year, and allows you to finally decide when a truck is no longer worth repairing. 

Stressing the importance of pre- and post-trip checking is crucial to your business. Not only does it help you follow DOT regulations, but it keeps your fleet on the road. Because if your trucks break down, no one is getting service. And that means a lot of unhappy customers.

About the Author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.


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