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8 obvious things your drivers are missing in their pre-trip | Semi Truck Repair

Semi Truck Tractor Pre-Trip

Most drivers aren’t real excited about their pre-trip. A thorough pre-trip can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour (and longer if items are found that need corrected). And we get it – an hour can seem like a decade when your wheels aren’t turning. The old addage is true: “if the wheels ain’t turning, we ain’t earning.”

You already know that your drivers pre-trip is CRITICAL to the well being of your drivers, equipment, and your business as a whole. But for the drivers that cut corners every now and again you might want to put a couple post-its on their dash as reminders:

“Hey you! Yeah You! How complete was your pre-trip? Remember you’re about to pull 80,000 pounds at high speeds around 4 wheelers that are probably driving like idiots.”

“Oh also! CSA penalties affect don’t just affect your driving record – they affect ours too. And just generally tick us off. 🙂 Just saying.”

Yes, there is much debate on whether or not the CSA is truly making “data-driven regulations” or very simply a cash grab, but we aren’t here to take sides–the CSA isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We’re here to point out some statistics that show that even though your drivers are signing their names to their pre-trip checklist, there’s a pretty good chance a few of them aren’t being as thorough as they should be.

To find our what was being missed and how often, we took a look at the “handy” Pocket Guide to Large Truck & Bus Statistics published by the FMCSA.  And whoa. The stats are downright scary. Some of the easiest things to “check off” had the highest number of violations! The image below was pulled directly from the FMCSA’s guide which can be found in its entirety here. We’ve pointed out the ones below that made us shake our heads.

FMCSA violation stats

Sure, a small percentage of these violations may have been checked by the driver beforehand and shorted out/burned out/stopped working during their drive. But 563,066 times?! Doubtful.

So what can you do? A couple things…

For starters, send your drivers this post. Not all of them will read it, but it’s worth sending a 30 sec email with a link inside “Read this.” for those that might.

In addition, physically mark on your calendar, your maintenance managers calendar, and your shop calendar the dates from now until the end of the year that you expect to have your fleet inspected either by your own staff or your tire or service provider. Many of our fleet managers set actual appointments in their digital calendars so that appointment reminders pop up on their phone and PC’s the day the they have set for inspections.

And it should go without saying… but since common sense isn’t always common: when your reminder pops up,  whomever you have designated to do the inspection needs to ACTUALLY DO THE INSPECTION! (Crazy idea, right? :))

Fleet inspections aren’t going to keep you from getting violations completely but they will significantly reduce the total number you get and add an extra safeguard just in case this post doesn’t sway your drivers to be more thorough. There’s certainly room for improvement!

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