Logging Vehicle Inspection

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations require that vehicles be inspected pre-trip, post-trip and annually. Below are highlights from the U.S. DOL 49 CFR Part 396.

Pre-Trip Inspection
Before driving a motor vehicle, the driver must:

  • Be satisfied that the motor vehicle is in safe operating condition.
  • Review the last driver vehicle inspection report.
  • Sign the report, only if defects or deficiencies were noted by the driver who prepared the report, to acknowledge that the driver has reviewed it and that there is a certification that the required repairs have been performed. The signature requirement does not apply to listed defects on a towed unit that is no longer part of the vehicle combination.

Post-Trip Inspection
A report is required. Every driver must prepare a report in writing at the end of the work day for each vehicle operated.

This written report must cover at least the following parts and accessories:

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Windshield wipers
  • Parking (hand) brake
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Steering mechanism
  • Rear vision mirrors
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Emergency equipment

Report content: The report must identify any safety defects. The driver must sign the report, and a copy must remain in the vehicle during the following shift.

Repairs: Prior to operating a vehicle, the motor carrier must repair any defect identified on the driver vehicle inspection report. The motor carrier must maintain the original report, the certification of repairs and the certification of the driver’s review for 3 months from the date the written report was prepared.

Annual Inspection
Every commercial motor vehicle must be inspected annually. A motor carrier cannot use a commercial motor vehicle unless each component identified in Appendix G (Part §399.211) has passed an inspection annually and documentation of this inspection is on the vehicle. It is the responsibility of the motor carrier to ensure that the person completing the inspection is qualified to perform a commercial motor vehicle safety inspection. Tractor and any trailers in a combination vehicle must be included in the