What is a Driver's Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR)? 

DVIRs are required under 49 CFR 396.11 and 396.13 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Daren Hansen - Sr. Editor - J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

November 22 , 2019

A driver’s vehicle inspection report (DVIR) is a document that a truck or bus driver fills out at the end of the day to let his or her company know about any unsafe or missing equipment on the vehicle. The company must then fix the defect(s) before anyone else drives the vehicle. 

DVIRs have historically been created using a paper form but more and more drivers are using electronic inspection reports, also known as eDVIRs. DVIRs are required under 49 CFR 396.11 and 396.13 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, as enforced by the U.S. DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Who Has to Fill Out DVIRs?

The rules apply to drivers of commercial trucks and buses weighing 10,001 pounds or more or designed for 9 or more passengers or which are placarded for hazardous materials. Companies that operate only one such vehicle are exempt from needing to use DVIRs.

Drivers of vans, buses, and other passenger-carrying vehicles must prepare a DVIR once they’re done driving the vehicle for the day, whether there is a defect to report or not.

Drivers of trucks and other property-carrying vehicles need only prepare a DVIR if there is a safety-related defect to report, unless company policy requires a report every day.

What Has to be on a DVIR?

The regulations specify what has to appear on a DVIR but not how it has to appear. DVIRs need to include:

  • The date;
  • The vehicle identity (fleet unit number, license plate number, etc.);
  • The signature of the driver who prepared the DVIR;
  • The signature of the mechanic or other person who repaired the vehicle (or decided that repair was not needed); and
  • The signature of the next driver of the vehicle, to acknowledge that the repair was done or not needed.

Some electronic DVIRs, like the Encompass DVIR app, allow fleets to customize their inspection criteria based on different equipment and unique inspection requirements.  

Which Vehicle Parts Have to be Included in the Inspection?

At a minimum, each DVIR must include any defects found on the following parts and accessories:

  • Service brakes (including trailer brake connections)
  • Parking (hand) brake
  • Steering system
  • Lights and reflectors
  • Tires, wheels, and rims
  • Horn(s)
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rearview mirrors
  • Coupling devices
  • Emergency equipment (fire extinguisher, reflective triangles, spare fuses)

A DVIR does not need to include a list of these parts, but many DVIRs and eDVIRs do include such a list as a reminder to the driver.

Companies must store each inspection report for at least three months.

What if a Driver or Company Violates the DVIR Rules?

The potential penalties for DVIR violations can be steep:

  • Up to $1,270 per day for failing to complete a DVIR when required
  • Up to $12,700 for falsifying a DVIR to hide a safety defect
  • Up to $15,420 for failing to repair a reported safety defect

Whether required by regulation or company policy, having drivers complete a DVIR every day is an important part of a systematic and compliant vehicle maintenance program. Such a program includes having a qualified mechanic, as well as the next driver of the vehicle, review each inspection report to make sure that any needed repairs are completed before the vehicle is operated again. Ultimately, the goal of such a program is to keep defective vehicles off the road and prevent crashes.


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