With all the “i” devices on the market—iPod, iPad, iPhone—and other tablets and smartphones, the world of instant data is make information more accessible than ever. It almost seems as though the way we get the data is more exciting than its content. In fact, it can be mindless to get a text or email, tap to send and/or save it, how easy is that.
With electronic data gathering the cumbersome legal requirement process is replaced by computerize ways to verify compliance—sorting/retrieving documentation is now really easy. This was a huge achievement that has provided excellent organization and control. For fleets, this has now become a way to operate.
Now, let’s talk about electronic driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRS). Currently, drivers go through the screen and click a box for pre-trip compliance—it’s easy and it registers so drivers are in compliance. At the end of the tour of duty, drivers do a post- trip inspection for DOT reasons and for possible required mechanical and safety repair repairs. It is quick, easy and provides ways for drivers to spot and record potential problems that perhaps were not be found during his “post” trip inspection. At that point, the information is downloaded into a report and, in some cases, email to the appropriate manager, or even to a repair order system for scheduling.
This is all well and good, but I have a few questions:
- Do drivers do a pre-trip inspection from the cab? Mirrors?
- How do they sign off on the previous DVIR, especially if it is a safety related need? Is there just an accept icon? Do they have to?
- Do drivers do a post-trip from the cab of the truck, or do they get out and walk around as compliance tells us? Do they do the electronic portion first then look?
- How do they OOS tag the trailer so it gets put out of service (i.e. flat tire) in a drop yard?
- Do they do the trailer on the same DVIR? Is there a separate DVIR entry?
- Where does the DVIR go to—the shop, safety, dispatch …where? Is it on a timely basis so it can be repaired prior to the next day’s tour of duty or does the yard jockey place the trailer in the next queue?
- Does is stay in queue till someone looks into the computer?
So now that the driver has done the electronic DVIR, a few more questions arise:
- How does the shop get the report?
- Does it go to an email and someone has to look for it?
- Does it get automatically printed in the shop from an email?
- Automatic RO generation?
- Do we use white paper so it gets lost or do we put it on colored paper so it does not get lost? Are instructions on the backside for clarity, like what is to be done with the printed DVIR?
- Does the trailer info get lost in the tractor information?
- Are there two separate documents?
- Is a signed copy needed in the truck? If so, does the tech put it in the truck or does the driver supervisor do that—and where does he put it in the truck so it can be found when needed. Is there a requirement or this?
- If it is for a trailer, how does the trailer get red-tagged before it gets loaded or dispatched again? In most cases a copy of the DVCR gets placed in the trailer light socket for OOS reason.
- What if vendors fix the vehicles, how do they get it?
There are many questions regarding this process. I am aware of couple of companies that have been working on the process and still have no real answers—other than it is easier and they do not have to file the paper. But who in the shop gets a copy and when does the shop get it? Is it legal in the acceptance in the truck to accept the previous electronic pre- and post-trip info in the sea of inspectors?
I have yet to find anyone who can answer any these questions completely. I suspect that we are forgetting the most important issue—communication; specifically, communication to the repairing facility, which needs to be done in an easy, productive manner. It appears to me that in making the data of pre- and post-flow, the questions are where: how fast and how easy?
It sounds like it could be a system that demands more desk sitters…or maybe a link to a computer system that generate hundreds of repairs orders and stays open forever. I am sure a new app will appear, like process your DVIR’s from your iPhone $.99.
I’m not afraid of electronic process changes, just curious about who benefits from them, and who has to add time to cover the details related to the process. If the DOT accepts the ease of the oncoming drive acceptance process, we will make it work, but is the addition time of $1.00 a minute worth it? Just a question.