Electronic Vehicle Inspection Reports; A Field Evaluation 2004-01-2648
Current regulations (49 CFR Part 396.11 and 396.13) mandate that a commercial driver inspect the vehicle at the conclusion of the duty shift. This inspection should note any defects which were noticed during use. This report must be in writing. Unfortunately, many drivers have chosen not to do the inspection, but falsely fill out the report form or simply do nothing at all. A 2002 study shows that as many as 23.7% of all commercial vehicles inspected (levels 1, 2, 5) were found to be defective1. A 2003 study showed that as many as 23.2% of large trucks and 10.3% of commercial buses were deemed out of service2. This poor behavior has a direct effect on safety. Specifically an increased number of accidents related to maintenance defects. In fact, as much as a 5% increase in fatal accidents can be attributed to mechanical defects3.
A product has been developed which forces the driver to go to each of the legally prescribed areas of the inspection. This is accomplished by using “Smart Radio Frequency Identification Tags” (R.F.I.D.) which are located on the vehicle at the critical inspection locations.
A field evaluation conducted by a Chicago based motorcoach company has been performed and is reported in this paper. The research being presented is of a conceptual nature. That is, can this new technology be used successfully in a large metropolitan area with a varying driver base from which to choose from? Furthermore, this paper is intended to discuss the issues with the pre/post-trip inspection process and the insertion of the Electronic Vehicle Inspection System. However, due to the complexity of the system, its operational mechanics will not be addressed completely in this paper.