Inspections are just as much a part of your job as a professional driver as is steering, shifting and stopping. A quality pre-trip inspection is the best way to get off to the right start and insure a safe trip.

Setting a pattern of conducting your pre-trip will ensure you remember important points on the inspection that could lead to a breakdown or even an accident. Lights, tires and brakes are still the top three components that will get you shut down during enforcement inspections. Make certain these components and systems are working properly.

If you have an air brake vehicle, check the following for proper operation:

  • Low air warning device
  • Trailer protection valve 
  • Brake drums, shoes and air lines on every axle
  • Undercarriage
  • Suspension
  • Fifth wheel latch
  • Lights, reflectors and reflective tape (older trailers are susceptible to having torn and unserviceable tape)

 You should check the following as part of your pre-trip inspection:

  • Tires (cuts, abrasions, defects, tread depth and inflation)
    • Drive and Trailer tires: minimum of 2/32nd tread depth 
    • Steering tires: minimum of 4/32nd tread depth
  • Grease seals on wheels
  • Oil and coolant levels in engine
  • All belts
  • Look for evidence of leaks (lubricants, coolants, etc.)
  • Glass, wipers, lights and reflectors (clean and free of any defects)
  • Horn
  • Emergency equipment (three emergency triangles and charged, secured fire extinguisher)
  • Air lines and light cord (secured and in serviceable condition)
  • All equipment and cargo properly secured in and on your unit

TST July 2019Any defects noted during your pre-trip must be repaired before you start your trip.

The next inspection you will need to conduct would be en route inspections and these should be conducted every time you stop. It is recommended that you stop at least every three hours or 150 miles and check vehicle and load just to make certain everything is still working properly. If you are hauling flatbed freight, it is required and if you are hauling hazardous materials, you are required to do the inspections every time you stop. Keep in mind that as the weather starts to improve, you will see more inspectors on the road so expect to be inspected more.

Now, the last and the sometimes most neglected inspection is the end-of-trip inspection and the required written inspection report by the driver. This is not just a paperwork exercise, it is required that drivers do one last check of the vehicle and report, in writing, any defect noted on the inspection. This will ensure those defects will be repaired before the unit is ready to be loaded and dispatched again.

It is critically important that these inspections be done and that everyone works to make certain the vehicles stay in top-notch condition.

Drive safely. 
Drive responsibly. 
Drive professionally.

Your trip has to start and end with quality safety inspections.

The information contained in this report was obtained from sources which, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, are authentic and reliable. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. makes no guarantee of results and assumes no liability in connection with either the information herein contained, or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein, or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedures.