With the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issuing the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Final Rule, fleets are taking a long look at technology solutions to track hours-of-service (HOS), but they are also going a step further to ask, “What else can it do?” One of those things is create and manage electronic driver vehicle inspection reports (eDVIRs). Electronic inspection reports have been around for years, but technology solution providers are integrating eDVIRs solutions into their overall fleet management software suite.
“In our eDVIR and fleet management solutions, we require that drivers fill out a DVIR when switching from off-duty to on-duty status so that drivers are always prompted to do a physical inspection before starting their shift,” said Ravi Kodavarti, director of product management for commercial transportation with Rand McNally, which offers several eDVIR solutions including its ELD 50 introduction. This solution plugs into the diagnostics port right below the dash. Drivers download the Rand McNally DriverConnect app and then pair their phones via Bluetooth to the device. Drivers can then complete the DVIR reports on their phones and can view those on the app or on the Rand McNally DriverConnect web portal. “Our ELD 50 and HD 100 are both devices that pair with a driver’s smartphone. For these devices, drivers would fill out the report directly on their smartphones. These reports are then available in the device respective web portals where fleet managers would be able to view the report.”
Ensuring that drivers consistently perform pre- and post-trip inspections and properly report any maintenance issues, as well as verify that previously reported problems have been resolved, is essential to controlling your trucks’ maintenance costs. This also pays off by avoiding unnecessary delays for roadside inspections. For example, inoperable lights are a clear violation and are one of the items that enforcement officials will key on that could lead to a Level 1 inspection and associated out-of-service condition, depending upon the findings.
“eDVIR products should maintain the FMCSA ‘Chain of Custody’ requirements throughout the entire process, beginning with the post-trip inspection being submitted, the shop recording the repairs made, and finally sent back the vehicle when the next driver signs in,” said Kirk Rhoades, ELD sales engineer for GPS Insight, which provides an ELD device that is integrated with the eDVIR solution. In its HOS portal, fleet managers sign in to review and edit logs and view the inspection reports as a software-as-a-service (SAAS). “The new driver then completes the process by reviewing the same eDVIR as part of their pre-trip sign in, and then certify the vehicle is once again safe to operate.”
As a fleet manager, you want to ensure that your drivers are completing inspections and that you are notified of any potential issues. Many eDVIR solutions are integrated into the driver’s eLog process, prompting the driver to complete the inspection as part of the HOS log-on process. For example, GPS Insight explained that when the driver signs in, he or she is prompted to add shipment info and then the system will download the previous eDVIR from the last driver of the vehicle; the last trailer inspection report will also be downloaded as long as the driver indicates that he or she plans to keep the same previously assigned trailer. Then the driver can review the last inspection reports and can certify that it’s safe to operate before continuing. Throughout the day as drivers drop and hook trailers, they ensure that the driver completes a post trip DVIR when dropping a trailer. When adding the new trailer, the system downloads the previous DVIR for that trailer. In the event there is not a previous DVIR, GPS Insight’s solution requires the driver to complete a full inspection report before proceeding.
In today’s fast-paced, data-driven business environment, eDVIRs are making real time equipment decisions possible before a larger maintenance issue happens on the road.
“Once a driver submits her report from the device, the driver manager can review the submission and choose how to handle any necessary repairs, all in near real time,” said Tony Forrest, product manager for Omnitracs Enterprise Services. The Omnitracs eDVIR is an application that can be accessed through the HOS application on any of the mobile computing platform (MCP) devices and also the new Intelligent Vehicle Gateway (IVG), and via Android or Windows Mobile devices using XRS’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) delivery model.