Posted April 1, 2020
Roadside inspections are a way of life for many commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. Being prepared can go a long way in ensuring an easy and painless process. This includes understanding roadside inspection procedures, maintaining a safe and clean vehicle, and being ready to cooperate with enforcement.
The goal: Uniform inspections
Roadside inspection procedures are developed and maintained by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), an association of state, local, provincial, and federal officials responsible for the administration and enforcement of motor carrier safety laws and regulations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
One of CVSA’s primary goals is to administer a uniform CMV inspection process throughout all of North America. In other words, a driver in Maine should have the same roadside inspection experience as a driver in Oregon.
Levels of inspection
CVSA has eight different levels of roadside inspections. The following five are the most commonly conducted inspections that every motor carrier and driver should understand.
1. Comprehensive driver and vehicle
The majority of inspections conducted are of this type, as it is the most thorough of the inspections performed by law enforcement. The inspection covers both the driver and vehicle and takes about 45 to 60 minutes to complete.
The driver will be asked to produce documents such as his or her driver’s license, medical card (if applicable), and record of duty status. The vehicle portion is a detailed check of the vehicle’s components — brakes, tires, lights, frame, fuel system, cargo securement, etc.
The walk-around inspection is similar to the comprehensive inspection but does not include components that require the inspector to physically get under the vehicle. The walk-around takes about 30 minutes to complete.
This type of inspection involves a review of documents pertaining to the driver. This includes the driver’s license, medical card (if applicable), and record of duty status.
This type of inspection involves a one-time examination of a particular item, such as a driver’s record of duty status or a vehicle’s brakes.
This type of vehicle inspection typically takes place at a motor carrier’s place of business during an on-site visit, such as an audit or inspection.
Preparation is key
Knowing what’s expected and having your drivers prepared to deal with inspections in a professional and efficient manner can only help your company going forward.
In addition to performing required vehicle inspections and making required repairs, preparation includes having a neat and clean vehicle. Though it’s not a part of the official inspection, a vehicle’s cleanliness can signal the driver’s attention to detail to an inspector.
Also, the driver should be prepared to be polite and cooperative with the inspector. He or she should follow the inspector’s instructions and provide the documents requested.