Vehicle Inspections for your Fleet – The Do’s and Dont’s

nickiheadshotWritten by Nicki Karim

Complying with fleet inspection regulations can be a real pain in the neck! Managing multiple vehicles and employees is stressful enough. Trying to keep up with the constantly changing field of regulatory compliance is a whole other ball game. Whether you’re doing too much or too little, you are not being cost or time efficient. And there is a better solution.


The Overwhelming Laws of Regulatory Compliance

One way to stay up to date with the laws of regulatory vehicle compliance is by periodically reading the FMCSA laws. However, given that it’s around 700 pages, this will take you weeks, and it will definitely put you to sleep a few of those times.  Companies that manage multiple vehicles or assets have a higher risk of failing to keep up with regulatory compliance as there are just too many vehicles and drivers to keep track of. Below are just some of the essential sections of the FMCSA that might help shed some light on the seriousness of regulatory compliance.

  • 396 is the biggest and most important section that relates to vehicle inspections. §396.3 is on inspection, repair and maintenance.  Subpart (a) of this section lays out the general rules:

    “[e]very motor carrier . . . must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, . . . all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control.”

    • Parts and accessories need to be in safe and operating condition at all times. And pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking light in buses shall be inspected at least every 90 days.
  • Subparts (b) and (c) deal with records. All motor carriers other than private nonbusiness motor carriers, must maintain records for each motor vehicle they control for 30 consecutive days. Records must include the following:
    1.  An identification of the vehicle including company number, if so marked, make, serial number, year, and tire size. In addition, if the motor vehicle is not owned by the motor carrier, the record shall identify the name of the person furnishing the vehicle;
    2. A means to indicate the nature and due date of the various inspection and maintenance operations to be performed;
    3. A record of inspection, repairs, and maintenance indicating their date and nature; and
    4. A record of tests conducted on pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights on buses

The Practicalities Behind Maintaining Records

These records need to be retained where the vehicle is either housed or maintained for a period of 1 year and for 6 months after the motor vehicle leaves the motor carrier‘s control.

The most logical way of keeping up with regulatory compliance is by using a fleet maintenance and management software like AUTOsist that is designed to make data maintenance quick and easy. Using a fleet maintenance and management software is not only cost efficient, but also very convenient and time efficient.

Failing to timely keep up with vehicle inspections pertaining to commercial vehicles regulatory compliance can end up making a huge hole in your company’s wallet. It is simply not realistic for management to keep track of every vehicle’s needs and to make sure that every driver is having their vehicles inspected as necessary. The chances of all of your vehicles needing inspections around the same time are very slim, as different vehicles have different lifespans and maintenance requirements and needs. Therefore, you need something that will keep track of all of your vehicle inspection information and alert you when the next vehicle inspection is needed.

Fleet maintenance and management software allows you to manually install all of the relevant data about vehicle inspections to make information easily accessible for managers and owners. This way, whether you are just routinely trying to figure out when the next vehicle inspection is or there is a vehicle that is coming due for a mandatory inspection, you have the necessary information right at your fingertips for you to act as quickly as necessary.


While some companies fail to timely have their vehicles inspected, which ends up costing them a lot later due to a higher risk of the vehicles breaking down, some companies go overboard and do too much—which also ends up adding unnecessary easily avoidable costs. Knowing what not to do is almost just as important as knowing what to do most times. Having your vehicles unnecessarily inspected is costly in many ways.

When you take a vehicle out for inspection, you lose out on the use of that vehicle for those hours or days. The driver who relies on the vehicle also loses out on work for that day. Although it is ideally great to be on the safer side, if you take into account all the financial and time loses of over-inspecting and maintaining, you are ultimately wasting too much money and resources.

Fleet and Driver Safety

Lastly, but definitely most importantly, safety is huge concern for most commercial vehicle companies. Failing to comply with regulatory laws can be costly and stressful, but if the failure to timely and properly inspect your vehicle is the cause of injury to your employee or a third party, then you are in for even harsher legal actions. This will not just be costly and stressful, but it can even cause companies to go bankrupt from impossible legal fees.

Making sure that your vehicles are inspected as necessary and according to compliance laws will give you the peace of mind that you are doing everything that you are legally and morally responsible for to avoid injuries to your employees and third parties. You will also have the confidence that in the off chance that something did happen, you have all the recorded data to prove that you are not liable.

Fleet inspection maintenance and management does not have to be stressful and complying with the regulatory laws does not have to be intimidating! All you need is a reliable efficient fleet management software like AUTOsist to keep it smooth and simple for you!

Fleet Maintenance and Management + Driver Safety – Why Does it Matter?

When it comes to vehicle accidents, the first thought that occurs to a lot of us are drunk drivers, texting & driving, and bad roads or weather conditions.  But do we ever stop to think that poor vehicle maintenance is one of the major reasons that cause these accidents? If fleet managers and drivers know or had been aware that their vehicle had maintenance issues they neglected, they could be held liable if their vehicle causes injuries to others on the road as well as suffer from vehicle downtime which is critical for their business.
This phenomenon leads many companies in search of an efficient fleet maintenance and management solution that has the proper data tracking and reporting tools for vehicle & driver safety. So now we know the reason why people say, Better safe than sorry.”
There were more than 32,000 crash deaths in the US in 2013 according to These deaths cost more than $380 million in direct medical costs. There are four major factors that contribute to vehicle accidents. They are, mostly mechanical issues, road design / maintenance, road condition, and poor driver performance. The latter is, of course, the most significant, and 95% of all accidents involving motor vehicles, worldwide include poor driver performance along with one of the other three.

One way accidents can be avoided and driver safety enhanced is by implementing a fleet management system. This can help you with: 

  • Being informed when your vehicle/asset is due for maintenance
  • Prolonging the lifespan of your vehicles/assets
  • Less breakdowns and vehicle/asset downtime
  • Reduction in future repair costs
  • Improvement in resale value
A well-managed fleet management system such as AUTOsist can result in a more profitable business, enhanced vehicle & driver safety among a myriad of other advantages.

When Technology Meets Fleet
With a smart iOS, Android or Web based fleet maintenance and management system, fleet managers with businesses can differentiate themselves by providing an enhanced level of safety and security to all their drivers as well as the vehicles they own. Such a technology is powerful enough to track and monitor time and cost of vehicle maintenance, miles covered, and other metrics.

Go Paperless
A smart, easy to install and use fleet maintenance technology like AUTOsist allows drivers to move away from paper work and manage the entire data related to driver logs, spend analysis data, backup data and more. Fleet maintenance management technology proves an automated experience to fleet managers as well as drivers while reducing their time and cost associated in manual tracking of all vehicle related records. Whatever is going on behind the wheels, a fleet maintenance and management system is the right tool to make your tasks faster, efficient and easier.

Explore AUTOsist to help your fleet managers, ensure the safety of your drivers and vehicle.

Top 5 Features of AUTOsist

Web Based + Mobile App – Available for iOS, Android, and Web.  Everything syncs so you can manage your fleet on the go.

Maintenance and Fuel Tracker – A dedicated area to track your maintenance and fuel records. Attach receipts and free up any paper clutter.

Reminder Notifications – Set up reminders based on odometer and/or date. Get an alert via push notification and email.

Inspections - Create custom inspection checklists and get notified when something is not in proper working order.

Assign Custom Users with Permission Control – Have multiple users assigned to vehicles/assets and control what they can or can’t do.

So, what are you waiting for? Now let the latest technology takeover your fleet management and make driver safety a mandatory practice.  Sign up for a risk free trial with AUTOsist (no credit card required) by clicking here.