Resource Center

Everything you need to know in one place

What is a DVIR?

Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports Explained

August 17, 2021Paige Lichtenwalter

DVIR, meaning Driver Vehicle Inspection Report, is a daily report that drivers have to complete for commercial motor vehicles. Law 49 in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), sections 396.11 and 396.13, specify DVIR requirements. These requirements are then enforced by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

If you’re new to the fleet management industry or are looking for a better way to complete required DVIRs, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll further explain what is DVIR, when it is and isn’t required, how it works, and the benefits of using electronic DVIRs.

DVIR Meaning & How It Works

So what is a DVIR exactly, and how does it work? A DVIR ensures there is a formal record that a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver has completed his or her required daily vehicle inspections. This includes a pre-trip inspection before the driver starts driving for the day and a post-trip inspection after the driver is done driving for the day. DVIRs help identify safety issues and prevent hazardous vehicle components from going unfixed in addition to keeping a fleet and its drivers in compliance with federal regulations.

DVIRs can be recorded on paper or electronically, but regardless, must be kept or stored at your business or where your vehicles are located for at least three months from the date it was submitted.

4 Steps of a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report

Completing a DVIR includes four basic steps that drivers need to follow, including inspecting the vehicle, reporting any defects, signing off on the report, and completing any corrective actions needed. Here’s a further explanation of each step:

Step #1: Vehicle Inspection

During this first step, a driver will conduct a circle check inspection of their vehicle. This should include checking underneath the hood, doing a 360-degree walkaround looking for defects or damages, and starting the vehicle engine to test lights, brakes, and more. There is a standard checklist of things that must be included checked on a driver vehicle inspection report (see next section for the list in its entirety). 

Step #2: Report Defects

The second step is to report any defects or damages found during the inspection that might affect the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle in a safe manner or that could lead to a vehicle breakdown. 

Step #3: Sign Off

Third, the driver will need to sign off on the driver vehicle inspection report and submit it to the motor carrier for review and/or immediate action.

Step #4: Corrective Action & Repair Certification

Lastly, motor carriers should immediately repair and certify any reported defects or damages identified in the DVIR that would affect the vehicle’s safe operation in order to keep the fleet safe and efficient. 

DVIR Checklist

When completing the above steps, drivers have to follow the regulations outlined in Section 396.11 that states an inspection report must include a check of the following:

  • Brakes and air system
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lights and reflectors
  • Tires, wheels, and rims
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rearview mirrors
  • Coupling equipment and fifth wheels
  • Safety and emergency equipment
  • Power unit and trailer (if applicable)

Drivers will also want to include the date, the vehicle license number, fleet unit number, their signature, the mechanic’s signature for any repairs fixed, and the signature of the next driver in that vehicle to make sure the repairs were made on the report.

When is a DVIR Required?

Per United States federal law, completing a driver vehicle inspection report is required for every commercial motor vehicle on the road to ensure road safety and compliance. DVIRs are meant to reduce the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles. If you’re using two or more commercial motor vehicles for business, there’s almost a 100% chance you’ll be required to fill out and keep DVIRs for each of your vehicles. 

To make sure you’re properly following DVIR regulations, view all of the written regulations on the FMCSA website: Federal Law 49 CFR - sections 396.11 and 396.13.

DVIR Exemptions

There are a few instances where DVIRs are not required, however. DVIR regulations won’t apply to the following operators:

  • Driveaway-towaways
  • Motor carriers with only one commercial motor vehicle
  • Private motor carriers carrying passengers, not as a business

Additionally, the FMCSA rescinded the requirement for drivers to submit a DVIR if no defects or damages were found in 2014. This means DVIRs aren’t required to be submitted if the vehicle passes the driver’s inspection. The only caveat is that this does not apply to passenger-carrying vehicles. If a driver is driving a commercial motor vehicle with passengers, the driver is required to submit a DVIR whether or not he or she finds any defects or damages.

DVIRs & DOT Roadside Inspections

In addition to the DVIRs that drivers are required to do, the Department of Transportation (DOT) also conducts commercial vehicle inspections following the six-level North American Standard Inspection Program. Easy to record and maintain DVIRs make DOT roadside inspections smoother since drivers’ should have already inspected their vehicles. This means more passed DOT inspections and safer vehicles and fewer out-of-service violations and low CSA scores. Regular pre-trip and post-trip inspections can also point to maintenance issues that could become costly if not taken care of quickly. 

Penalties for Not Completing DVIRs

Since DVIRs are required by federal law, there are penalties associated with not following proper DVIR regulations. This can include fines anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000. Additionally, if a vehicle is found unsafe, the vehicle could be immediately put out of commission until repaired. Unplanned vehicle losses could lead to a hit in revenue and/or CSA scores, so it’s important to follow DVIR regulations closely.

Make DVIRs Easier With Forward Thinking Systems

In need of a DVIR solution or looking to automate your fleet’s DVIRs? Forward Thinking System’s DVIR solution allows drivers to complete driver vehicle inspection reports digitally with Field Warrior® for Android and approved Garmin devices. It’s quick, simple, customizable, and FMCSA compliant. Plus, eliminating paper DVIRs opens the door to electronic DVIR benefits like:

  1. Improving efficiency
  2. Capturing visual issues or damages
  3. Reducing paperwork
  4. Transferring information quickly
  5. Increasing data visibility 

Our electronic DVIR solution gives you a seamless maintenance workflow that simplifies inspections, improves compliance, and reduces the risk of fines. Contact us to get started or learn more by scheduling a demo today.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram