Live diagnostic reporting systems have a number of benefits for carriers, including minimizing delays associated with breakdowns and reducing the risk of CSA violations, but unless the systems are managed properly, carriers may be overwhelmed with fault codes that leave them with more questions than answers.
“You have to be wary of paralysis by analysis,” said Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance support at Penske Truck Leasing. “There are so many fault codes that you need to work with an OEM to determine which codes are important.”
Penske Truck Leasing has taken more than 1,000 fault codes and broken them up into red, yellow and green categories to help technicians, carriers and drivers understand which codes need immediate attention.
“The key piece is to be able to decipher what they mean,” Hasinec said. “If you have identified what is important, you can manage phone calls from the drivers to let them know that you’ve seen the codes and whether or not they should not worry about it, write the code up that night or pull over at the first safe opportunity.”
“Red fault codes, for example, mean a vehicle needs attention as soon as possible. Out of the 1,000 fault codes, Penske has flagged only 12 as critical,” Hasinec explained.
Live diagnostic reporting systems are standard on some vehicles, such as those from Volvo, but must be ordered on others, including Daimler tractors.
Hasinec said one thing carriers need to consider is that systems are collecting information on the vehicle. “That information could be used against you for a warranty issue,” he said.
Roughly half of Penske’s leased tractor fleet have diagnostic reporting systems — either those from the manufacturer or systems from third-party providers. Although the systems are useful, Hasinec said they do not take the place of a thorough pre- and post-trip inspection conducted by a driver.
Not only are the inspections required by law, but they can also help prevent accidents as well as breakdowns out on the road, which ultimately saves drivers time and ensures on-time deliveries.
Even with advanced vehicle technology, proper pre- and post-trip inspections are a crucial component of vehicle safety. The inspections can help drivers avoid violations during roadside inspections, prevent accidents and ensure the vehicle is safe while also preventing breakdowns out on the road, saving drivers time and ensuring on-time deliveries.
During every pre-trip inspection, a driver should look for leaks, damage, operable lights, properly secured cargo, sagging equipment and anything that looks out of place. Drivers should also review the previous Driver Vehicle Inspection Report.
Under Department of Transportation regulations, no commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver is satisfied that the required parts and accessories are in good working order, nor shall any driver fail to use or make use of such parts and accessories when and as needed. In addition, every motor carrier must require its drivers to provide a written report at the completion of each day’s work on each vehicle operated.
The post-trip inspection gives time for carriers to make necessary repairs and it also provides documentation the next driver can review during his or her pre-trip inspection. If the previous driver noted defects or deficiencies, the new driver must sign the inspection report to acknowledge that he or she has reviewed it and that there is a certification that the required repairs have been performed. Motor carriers must maintain the original of each vehicle inspection report and the certification of repairs for three months.
For drivers, establishing a routine can help them correctly note items they find in inspections. A routine can also ensure inspection reports are handled properly.
White copy (original): Driver performs inspection of the unit at the completion of each day’s work and completes a DVIR, then tears off white copy and clips to DVIR clip on driver side visor.
Yellow (service) and Pink (dispatch) copy: Submitted to dispatch/supervisor. When a defect or deficiency is noted, these copies notify dispatch/supervisor that maintenance provider needs to be notified to complete a repair. If no defect or deficiency is noted, copies do not need to be maintained.
Goldenrod (extra) copy: Can remain in the book. If a defect or deficiency is noted and maintenance is notified to complete the repair, the technician should sign the white copy and place it back on the visor clip. The tech can keep the yellow copy.
During the next driver’s pre-trip inspection, he or she should review the previous DVIR and sign it if the defects or deficiencies were noted and repaired. The driver then submits the completed white copy (original) to dispatch/management for motor carrier record retention. Motor carriers must maintain the original of each vehicle inspection report and the certification for three months.
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