Trip Inspections

This training is applicable to:


Trip Inspections


In this training we will review:

  • Why trip inspections are essential to the safe and efficient operation of a vehicle,
  • How to complete a pre trip inspection, and
  • When you should complete post trip inspections

Note: The items discussed in this training are meant to review the legislated requirements of trip inspections as set out by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Regulation. For more information refer to Alberta Regulation 121/2009. 

Section 1


Trip Inspections


In this section we will review:

  • What is a pre-trip inspection
  • Why are pre-trip inspections needed
  • What happens if you fail to complete a pre-trip inspection
  • Who is responsible

What is a Pre-Trip Inspection?

Pre-trips are a thorough check of a vehicle, trailer, and load prior to travel which is intended to ensure that a vehicle and its components are safe to operate and be on the road.

Why are pre-trips needed?

Effective pre-trip inspections prevent:

  • Unnecessary wear and tear on the vehicle,
  • Risks to public safety, and
  • Expensive tickets.

Drivers are responsible for the vehicles they are working in. This includes preventative maintenance, conducting inspections, and completing written records as required. 

What happens if you fail to complete a pre-trip?

Pre-trip inspections must be completed and documented every 24 hours in which a vehicle is operated.

Who is responsible?

Drivers are responsible for conducting and documenting pre-trip inspections and reporting any defects that are found.

Carriers are responsible for ensuring that pre-trips have been documented and records are being kept as per the transportation legislation.

In some circumstances, maintenance personnel may be responsible for conducting inspections. A pre-trip inspection must be completed prior to travel (no matter the duration) for every 24 hours in which the vehicle is being operated. If the maintenance crew is moving a vehicle from one location to another and a trip inspection hadn’t been completed within 24 hours, that person is responsible for completing the inspection. 

Pre-Trips and Emergencies

If a commercial vehicle is being used to transport equipment, goods, or passengers for the purpose of providing immediate relief in the case of an emergency, a pre-trip is not required prior to travel. Once the emergency has been resolved, the operator is required to conduct a pre-trip prior to travelling back to their home terminal. 

Example: the driver of a fire truck does not have to complete a pre-trip inspection before driving an engine to a structure fire. Once the fire has been resolved, the driver is required to conduct an inspection before returning to the station. 

Section 2

Conducting a Pre-Trip Inspection

Trip Inspections


In this section we will review:

  • Before you begin
  • Minor vs Major Defects (Standard 13, Part 2)
  • How to complete a pre trip inspection
  • How long should a pre-trip take

A pre-trip inspection has the driver review and identify defects on any areas on the vehicle, trailer, or load as per NSC Standard 13, Part 2, Schedule 1

Before you begin

  1. Ensure that the vehicle is parked in a safe, level location and secured from movement.
  2. You have familiarized yourself with the area and hazards that may be present.
  3. You are wearing the appropriate PPE.
  4. You have the appropriate paperwork to complete your inspection.

NSC Standard 13, Part 2, Schedule 1

As a commercial driver you are responsible for being aware of the difference between a minor and a major defect. No driver shall drive, and no person shall allow a driver to drive a vehicle that is not safe to be operated. 

A copy of the NSC Standard 13 can be found in the County's NSC Compliance Handbook and must be in all commercial vehicles. 

Overview of the Driver

This includes but is not limited to ensuring that you: 

  • Are rested and capable of driving,
  • Have all the necessary documentation required for your trip (i.e. logbooks/time records, certificates, insurance/registration, etc.),
  • Have all your required PPE,
  • Have your driver’s license (ensuring that it is current and appropriate to the vehicle you have been asked to drive), and
  • Have any additional equipment/supplies that are required. 

Overview of the Vehicle

As you approach the vehicle have a broad look at the vehicle and area around it.

  • Look underneath the vehicle for leaks, spills, debris, or damaged/dragging parts,

  • Check for hazards in the surrounding area

  • Chock the tires if on uneven surface

Remember Pre-trips Save Lives:

Engine Compartment

  1.  Check the engine compartment,
  2. Open the hood



  1. Climb inside the vehicle
  2. Ensure you have your registration, insurance, safety equipment and other applicable paperwork,
  3. Check the seat
  4. Check the seatbelt 
  5. Check the door and latches
  6. Check glass and mirrors 
  7. Check cleanliness of the cab
  8. Check the horn
  9. Check the wipers
  10. Start the engine
  11. Check air pressure
  12. Check for warning lights and listen for any odd noises

  13. Check signal/cab/warning lights

  14. Check gauges

Air Brake System

  1. Check air pressure build up
  2. Check air compressor settings
  3. Check reservoir
  4. Check service system leakage
  5. Check tractor protection valve
  6. Check air tank drain valves

Circle Check

Starting at the front of the vehicle circle around the vehicle and check condition of the following:

  1. Body, signs, decals, position
  2. Tires, wheels, rims, and bearing oil
  3. That mirrors are secured to vehicle
  4. Tire chains 
  5. Safety equipment

  6. Fuel tank

  7. Battery

  8. Air bags, springs, hangars, U-bolts, and breather vent on axles

  9. Drive lines and U-joints

  10. Lights

  11. Trailer

  12. Pushrod Stroke

  13. Brake function

How long should your pre trip inspection take?

If done correctly, and you check all of the required components, a pre-trip should take between 30-50 minutes. 

Section 3

Written Reports

Trip Inspections


In this section we will review:

  • Why a written record is needed
  • How to complete the written report
  • How to report defects found in your pre-trip
  • What to do with the written reports

Why is a Written Report Needed?

If you didn't write it down, there is no guarantee that it happened. Written records of your inspections are vital to ensuring that you and the County are in compliance with the Alberta Traffic Safety legislation.

Failure to complete trip inspections and associated written record may result in corrective action. 

This is an example of the vehicle inspection reports that the County uses. Remember: Vehicles presenting minor defects must be reported as defective as soon as the defect is discovered, and must be repaired by the next pre-trip inspection. Vehicles presenting major defects will remain out of service until the defects can be corrected. 

How do you complete the report?


How to report defects

Major vs Minor defects:

  • Minor defects must be reported and repaired prior to the next pre trip inspection (if repair is not done before the next inspection, the vehicle will be put out of service until repair can be made). 
  • Major defects must be reported and the vehicle will be put out of service until repairs can be made

Where do you put the Written Report

Original Reports:

  • Original reports must be carried inside the vehicle for a minimum of 24 hours and submitted to the County Shop within 20 days after it is created.
  • After 24 hours the original report can be submitted to the County Shop and filed in the appropriate vehicle file.
  • Talk to your supervisor/manager for more information for department specific practices for submitting your completed inspection reports.

Yellow Copies:

  • “Clean” yellow copies that are reporting no defects can remain in the booklets and be submitted to the County Shop when the booklet is full or within 20 days of the first entry (whichever occurs first)
  • Yellow copies with reported defects must be attached to the associated work order showing that the repair has been completed. 

Note: Be sure to have the mechanic sign off on your original inspection report after repairs are completed and especially if you are driving the vehicle before the next inspection is due.

Did you know...

We can be deducted marks on an NSC audit for unkempt paperwork – this includes excessively dirty inspection reports, time records, etc.

Please do your best to keep your paperwork organized, clean, and orderly. 

Section 4

Additional Inspections

Trip Inspections


In this section we will review:

  • Enroute inspections
  • Post-Trip Inspections

Enroute Inspections

To do an enroute inspection:

  • Pull over to a safe location (wear your appropriate PPE and look out for hazards)
  • Feel the hub, wheels, and tires (look for abnormal heat and smell)
  • Look at the tires for condition, wear, and pressure
  • When doing an enroute inspection, as well as while driving be sure to stay alert to changes in the vehicle by using all your senses

Post-Trip Inspections

Although there are no legislated requirements to conducting post-trip inspections a few post-trip activities are recommended:

  • Ensure that the truck is fully fuelled and clean.


  • Complete a circle check of the vehicle looking for any damage that may have been inflicted throughout the day, and

  • Ensure that the truck is parked in an appropriate location with the doors and compartments locked. 

Section 5


Trip Inspections


Pre-trip inspections are done:

  • As part of an effective preventative maintenance program,
  • To ensure the safety of the driver and members of the public, and
  • To avoid expensive fines and administrative penalties

If your pre-trip wasn’t written down there's no proof that it happened - be sure to keep a written record. 


Do your pre-trip everyday before you leave your staging area.




  1. In the following slides you will be presented with 10 questions.
  2. Answer the question and click "submit".
  3. If correct, click "next" to proceed to the next question. If incorrect, attempt the question once more. If still unsuccessful, proceed to the next question. 
  4. Upon completion of the course and a passing mark of at least 70% on the quiz, you will receive a certificate. 
  5. If you are unsuccessful, you will be prompted by your supervisor to repeat the course. 
  6. Once you have finished all 10 questions, click on "submit results".

1. What is the purpose of pre-trip inspections?

  • To be used as part of a preventative maintenance program in order to protect a vehicle from unnecessary wear and tear
  • Reduce risks to public and driver safety
  • Prevent expensive tickets
  • All of the above

2. What happens when a major defect is discovered during a pre-trip?

  • You can continue to drive but repair has to be made before the next pre-trip inspection or the vehicle will be put out of service.
  • Notify the Shop or your supervisor and post the yellow copy of the inspection report to shop bulletin board under “defects” so repair can be arranged before the next shift.
  • Nothing, as long as you don't get caught.
  • The vehicle is put out of service until repair can be made.

3. How often must a pre-trip be completed?

  • Once per week.
  • When you notice something is wrong with the vehicle.
  • Every 24 hours in which a vehicle is being driven, no matter the duration in which it is driven.
  • You are not required to do pre-trip inspections.

4. How often must the original pre-trip inspection reports be submitted to the County Shop?

  • Anytime after the 24-hour period in which it is valid or within 20 days of its creation
  • Anytime after the 24-hour period in which it is valid and within 20 days of its creation
  • Whenever the booklet is full
  • Whenever the booklet is full, as long as the first entry was created that year

5. True or False?

  • When driving a regulated vehicle, push rod stroke (brake adjustment) should be a part of the pre-trip inspection process.

6. True or False?

  • If you replace a headlight bulb you have to have the repair signed off by a licensed mechanic.

7. Sort the defect - major versus minor

Refer to NSC Standard 13 Part 2 Schedule 1 while completing this question. 
  • Cab door wont close
    Major Defect
  • Pushrod stroke exceeds the acceptable adjustment limit
    Major Defect
  • Audible air leak
    Minor Defect
  • Seatbelt malfunctions
    Major Defect
  • Burnt out turn signal bulb
    Major Defect
  • Wiper blade damaged
    Minor Defect

8. True or False?

  • If a major defect is found you can drive the vehicle until you are able to schedule repair.

9. Where do you find Standard 13 Part 2 Schedule 1 (a list of major and minor defects)?

  • In the front page of the pre-trip inspection booklet
  • In the County's NSC Compliance Handbook
  • In the Occupational Health and Safety Legislation
  • Both a and b

10. Which copy of the pre-trip inspection report must be attached to the work order or repair invoice once defects are discovered and have been repaired?

  • The original
  • Neither, you only submit the reports when the booklet is full
  • The copy (yellow sheet)
  • All of the above