An image depicting an experienced industry professional conducting a thorough pre-trip inspection on a commercial vehicle, checking various components for safety and compliance

5 Things Industry Veterans Do During Pre-Trip Inspections

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Knowledge grows with age. You can only refine certain skills through real-world experience, not by teaching them in a classroom. Recognizing this, the YourBestFleet team actively sought the wisdom of seasoned commercial drivers. We asked these veterans to impart their hard-earned insights to those just beginning their journey in this field, fostering a community of learning and mentorship. 

In this blog, we have shared tips to make your pre-trip inspection smoother and entirely comply with rules and regulations based on valuable feedback from fleet and transport industry veterans and seasoned commercial drivers.

During a road check, the top reasons for vehicle out-of-service violations were found as defective brake systems (25.2%), tires (18.5%), service brakes (12.7%), and lights (12.2%). That’s why vehicles’ pre-trip inspections become so crucial to identify and resolve any potential issues affecting the safety and efficiency of the trucks. 

What is a Pre-Trip Inspection?

A pre-trip inspection means thoroughly checking the vehicle’s condition before traveling to guarantee safety and compliance.  These are essential processes for improving road safety and maintaining regulatory compliance. These protocols are comprehensive; neglecting minor aspects may lead to significant violations. 

Experienced commercial drivers may make a big difference in the safety of other drivers and themselves on the road by following a thorough pre-trip inspection process. The primary purposes of pre-trip inspections are explained as follows:

  • The primary objective of a pre-trip inspection is the meticulous examination of the truck’s systems and parts for smooth operation. This step encompasses a detailed review of various critical components and identifying any anomalies that could lead to mechanical failures and impact safety during the trip.
  • Pre-trip inspections are an essential procedure that assists in locating and resolving possible problems before they become severe enough to become a safety risk while traveling.
  • Daily checking becomes essential for lengthy multi-day trips, which act as a preventative step to ensure the truck will remain safe and dependable for the duration of the journey.
  • Daily evaluations allow drivers to quickly resolve any problems that may come up while travelling, reducing the possibility of unexpected failures leading to accidents, downtime, and mishaps.
  • Furthermore, it is mandatory to strictly follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) laws and Department of Transportation (DoT) pre-trip inspection standards. These guidelines ensure that every commercial vehicle is subjected to the same stringent examination. 

5 Things Industry Veterans Do During Pre-Trip Inspections

Industry veterans follow specific pre-trip inspection procedures to ensure commercial vehicle security and effectiveness. The goal is to find any possible problems and take quick action to ensure that the truck’s functionality or safety issues are handled. The activities involved in the pre-trip inspection process are explained below: 

Examination of Vehicle Systems

“Carefully do checks before a trip. Pay close attention to the brakes, steering, lights, tires, and mirrors. Make sure that the safety gear works. This careful method is very important for keeping people safe on the road and avoiding crashes. Remember that these checks can save lives if they are done carefully. Be careful and stay safe.”

–  Thomas, 47, Florida Truck Driver

Here is a quick explanation of Thomas’s advice on pre-trip inspections:

  • Braking Mechanism: Drivers should inspect the brake fluid levels, brake lines, and brake pads. Any problems with the braking system need to be fixed immediately because they could seriously affect road safety.
  • Steering Function: It is essential to check that the steering system works smoothly and reacts to driver input precisely. Any anomalies in the steering function, particularly in emergencies, can significantly impact the ability to control truck movements.
  • Lights and Reflectors: It is necessary to check the proper working of all external lights and reflectors for safe and effective road visibility, particularly in low-light conditions.
  • Tire Condition: Every tire must be maintained properly and needs to be examined for proper pressure, tread depth, and any wear or damage for the stability and general safety of the automobile.
  • Wheels and Rims: Examining the wheels and rims guarantees no fractures, dents, or other problems that can affect the stability of the tire and wheel combination.
  • Coupling Devices: Coupling device pre-trip checkups entail ensuring safety chains are properly secured and inspecting for any wear or misalignment. This routine examination ensures a secure and safe towing experience.
  • Horn: The horn should be tested for proper functioning. An operational horn is an essential means of communication for informing other motorists of impending dangers or emergencies.
  • Windshield Wipers: Because they are crucial to preserving vision in inclement weather, windshield wipers should be in good operating order.
  • Side and rearview mirrors: Make sure the mirrors are clear of obstructions and correctly set so that the driver can have a clear perspective of the oncoming traffic.
  • Emergency Safety Equipment: The driver should confirm that the emergency safety equipment within the truck is in good working order. 

Documenting the Issues

“Write down any problems that you find during checks right away. It ensures that fixes are done quickly, which keeps small problems from getting worse and costing a lot to fix. Noting these problems lets you do preventative maintenance, which lowers the chance of breaks happening out of the blue. It’s not just good vehicle maintenance; it’s also a safety issue that protects you and other people on the road. It also makes sure that you follow the rules set by regulators, which keeps you on the right side of the law.”

–  Sam, 51, Minnesota

Here is a breakdown of what Sam asserts:

  • Fast Repairs: It is possible to take prompt corrective action when defects and shortfalls are reported immediately. By preventing these problems from becoming worse, you could avoid major repair times and expenses.
  • Preventive Maintenance: The documentation of problems found during the checking aids in a proactive approach to maintenance. It would allow maintenance crews to plan preventive actions to reduce unexpected breakdowns.
  • Safety: It is at the core of reporting the inspection results that aid in taking actions to make travel safer for drivers and other road users.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Documenting and addressing problems complies with standards for regulations that require timely notification and resolution of issues. 

Preparing a Driver Inspection Report

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) required all truck drivers and commercial motor carriers (CMVs) to perform vehicle inspections and record the findings in Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs). Industry veterans know this practice’s significance for ensuring safe and reliable operations and maintaining compliance. 

Their report includes several crucial parameters related to the truck’s health and performance. A DVIR establishes the credibility of the pre-trip inspection process by establishing adherence to the following aspects:

  • Complete Checking: DVIR summarises drivers’ careful, in-depth vehicle examinations to find any defects, damage, or wear that can affect the vehicle’s performance or safety.
  • Accurate Recording: A precise description of any problem found during the audit helps monitor and solve issues more efficiently.
  • Signing off: Drivers sign the document to confirm they have completed checks and recorded their findings.
  • Notifying the Carrier: Expert drivers promptly notify the carrier or communicate with the maintenance team through the report to guarantee they take the required steps to resolve the issues. 

Certification of Corrective Actions

The carrier must promptly address and resolve the issues reported in the DVIR. It is crucial to address problems quickly to ensure the safety of our operations. The motor carrier must confirm that they have completed all required corrective actions and that the vehicle is ready for safe operation on public highways. Examining the automobile after it has undergone the appropriate maintenance and repairs is crucial to ensure that the work has been done correctly and the problems have been resolved, as emphasized by industry veterans. 

Guide and Train New Drivers

One essential component of pre-trip inspection is the knowledge and skills to perform a comprehensive automobile check. As commercial vehicle technology advances, it is crucial to ensure that every fleet driver has the information and abilities to conduct an accurate pre-trip inspection of the vehicle type they are operating. It requires continual training and understanding of the functioning of truck components manufactured with new technologies. 

The following aspects are relevant and necessary for conducting a successful pre-trip inspection:

  • Driver Competency: Industry experts guide new CDL-holder drivers to acquire knowledge and the practical abilities necessary to do a complete check of their specific vehicle.
  • Technology Integration: Given the constantly evolving landscape of technology, drivers need to be aware of the integration of new systems and parts into their commercial automobiles.
  • Compliance and Accountability: Industry veterans are responsible for ensuring that every driver is trained to do the proper pre-trip inspections to maintain safety standards and compliance with industry regulations.


Veterans of the transport sector add valuable insight to pre-trip inspections of commercial vehicles. Their proficiency is seen in several vital practices, like examining each system and component in great detail, identifying potential causes of failures, and ensuring timely resolution of problems before they become more serious. 

The article mentions the efficiency and flexibility shown by the veterans by keeping up with rapidly changing technologies and carefully integrating their experience into pre-trip inspections. Industry experts can set excellent examples for all commercial drivers to follow and mentor them to promote a culture of excellence and safety.





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