As you can see, all you have to do when you fill out this report is fill in the appropriate block showing either no defects found or defect(s) encountered. If you find a defect, you have to describe the problem in writing so the mechanic can locate the needed repair. Of course, the driver may make the repair personally if she or he is knowledgeable enough to do so. There is a special line on this newer form for the driver's signature if she or he makes the repair. A separate line is for the mechanic's signature if the mechanic makes the repair.
The report form is quite well-designed because it provides a special box where the driver can note "Above defects need not be corrected for safe operation of vehicle." However, the driver still has to make a wise decision about whether or not the vehicle is safe without correction of the defect.
The problem with the form is that it doesn't provide a very good legal record of the thoroughness of the inspection the driver made, either at the beginning or the end of the day's run. If the vehicle is involved in an accident and there is a question about whether or not the driver was driving an unsafe vehicle, the driver and trucking company may be in hot water.
DO: Fill out one copy of this simplified inspection form as Harmon Skywalker would during his pre-trip inspection if he were using the form, and one for Benny Guiterez. Then, answer the following questions.
Pretend you are Benny Guiterez and you had checked the fifth wheel lock before heading out onto the street. Your trailer still ended up on its nose. Your supervisor doesn't believe you checked it. What proof do you have that you did? Would you have any better proof of your inspection if you had used one of the forms? Explain why or why not.
What comments might Harmon Skywalker make in the space for details of the inspection? Would they be different during a post-trip inspection than during a pre-trip inspection? Should they be different?
For many years government agencies have been inspecting trucks for defects. Many states have for years run random equipment checks. In California, this inspection was very detailed. All equipment was checked over.
Now, a number of states and Canadian provinces have joined together to standardize the inspection of commercial vehicles and to save time so that more vehicles can be checked. This should improve safety on our highways. The new inspection method saves time because it focuses on only some vehicle equipment and driver requirements: the ones most often identified as causing or contributing to truck accidents. These are the brakes, steering, tires and wheels, drawbars and fifth wheels, and hours of service.
The group behind the standardized critical item inspection is the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance or the CVSA. And at the time of print, all of the agencies listed in Chart No. 8-1, are members of this group.
If you are traveling in a state or Canadian province which is a member of the CVSA, expect to have your rig inspected along the way. Even if there is no check point set up, you can be inspected any time you are pulled over by a highway patrol officer or similar official. This can be for something as minor as a burned-out light or as critical as reckless driving. If you pass the inspection, the inspector will give you a CVSA decal. CVSA decals are colored differently for each quarter of the year and are valid for the month they're issued in, plus two months.
Generally, you won't be inspected again during that period unless an inspector notices a visible defect. That's a second way in which the new inspection program saves time. Not only will the inspections be shorter, you shouldn't have to undergo as many check as drivers had to in the past.
Chart No. 8-2 shows the things the CVSA inspection concentrates on. As you look through the chart, ask yourself if your present pre- and post-trip inspections check out these critical items thoroughly.
- Locate all of the above items on a tractor-trailer. Discuss each item within your group. Is the item structurally sound, free of damage, and safe for road travel? If you are not sure, ask your instructor if he or she thinks the item would pass the critical item inspection.
- Compare the items in Chart 8-2 with the items listed on the Driver's Inspection Report that you filled out in Instructional Exercise #1 of this article. Place a check mark next to the item in Chart 8-2 if it is also listed in the Driver's Inspection Report (the multi-copy inspection form). If it is not specifically listed, don't check it off. For example, "Brakes" are listed on the Driver's Inspection Report, but "Brake Shoes" are not, so don't check off "Brake Shoes" on Chart 8-2.
- Now look at all the unchecked items in Chart 8-2. Then answer these questions.
a. When will these critical items be checked in the day-to-day operation of a truck?
b. Who will be the first person to find defects in these critical items?
c. Since these items are considered critical by the CVSA, does that mean you should be checking them every day?
d. Your inspection reports ask you to check off "Steering" after you've checked it out. Does checking out the steering mean checking the tie rod and pitman arm as well as other parts of the steering mechanism? Should you check off "Steering" if you haven't checked the tie rod and pitman arms?