5 Best Pre- and Post-Trip Travel Tips

This is part of a series sponsored by IAT Insurance Group.

When commercial drivers are pulled over for a DOT roadside inspection, a low tire, brake light or any other number of equipment failures can result in violations, fines and work-related downtime. Any of these can affect the carrier’s DOT record.

It is estimated that idle trucks can cost a fleet between $850 and $1,000 per day. Additionally, failure to deliver goods on time can lead to customer dissatisfaction and loss of revenue from your customer moving to another location.

More dangerously, the driver has an accident when the brakes fail. When the plaintiff’s attorney discovers that the driver failed to take care of the trip earlier that day, the consequences are magnified.

The Federal Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates pre- and post-trip inspections to be performed by motorists on each trip.[1],[2] When CDL drivers follow written procedures and procedures when completing these equipment inspections, such as using the US DOT’s pre- and post-trip checklist,[3] these things can be avoided. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to do so.

Of the 59,000 roadside inspections carried out last year during the three-day road safety campaign, 14,428 infringements were issued for brakes, tyres, faulty brakes, lights and cargo protection.[4]

Checking the boxes to reduce the violation

To reduce power violations and ensure equipment is safe to use, these best practices can help fleets train and encourage their drivers to perform daily safety checks.

  1. Walk twice a day. When drivers get into the habit of walking around their car twice a day, checking parts such as tires, lights, brakes and the fifth wheel, any repairs that may be needed can be identified and addressed. This is also an excellent opportunity to fill out a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR).3

Consider using a pre-trip app to make the trip easier for drivers. Instead of a paper form, using an electronic eDVIR can help streamline the process, encourage participation and reduce inspection time.

  1. Include pre- and post-trip visits to your annual training and boarding. Train and/or review the process step by step to complete the appropriate equipment inspection for your drivers and emphasize its importance. Additionally, advise on how to properly document the completion of the visit.

Emphasize the time needed to visit before or after the trip. Reassure drivers that their daily pre-departure inspection should only take 10 minutes or 15 minutes longer.

  1. Report your findings. When issues are identified during a device review, address the issue immediately. Owner drivers should be prepared to have their vehicle or trailer repaired immediately, and fleet operators should be trained to notify managers immediately.

Record and maintain files on all equipment that indicate when inspections, operations and repairs are completed. In the event of an accident, it is important to ensure that these files are available.

  1. Identify violations. Known as BLT’s of equipment crimes – brakes, lights and tires – fleets must advise their drivers to be diligent in checking these areas, as they are the most prone to equipment damage. In addition to inspecting their vehicles, drivers must prepare and sign a written report containing any problems or issues that may affect safety or cause damage to machinery and equipment.

This should be considered at any time of1 and after the trip2 inspections, according to the FMCSA:

  • Service brakes, including trailer brakes
  • Parking (hand) brake
  • Control system
  • Lighting and lighting equipment
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear view mirrors
  • Communication tools
  • Wheels and rims
  • Emergency equipment
  1. Discuss how a hardware breach affects a company. Let your drivers know that DOT violations result in additional inspections, possible loss of customers due to failure to comply with the DOT record and increased insurance premiums. Good equipment maintenance helps keep your drivers and other motorists safer.


Have a question about how to reduce risk? Email losscontroldirect@iatinsurance.com for a chance to see your question answered in a future blog.

[1] FMCSA “6.3.4 Equipment, Inspection, and Use (392.7-392.9),” Accessed March 21, 2023.

[2] Code of Federal Regulations “396.11 vehicle inspection report,” March 17, 2023.

[3] FMCSA “Motor Vehicle Inspection Report,” Accessed March 21, 2023.

[4] Josh Fisher “Bad brakes, false brakes were Roadcheck 2022 violations,” Sept. 14, 2022.

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