Before you can prepare for a roadside inspection, you need to know what to expect.  The goal of the inspections is to help reduce the number of commercial vehicle accidents.  That could affect you, so here are some things you should know.

What Is a Roadside Inspection Report?

The FMCSA enforces CMV regulations to ensure roadway safety for everyone.  Their definition of roadside inspections is as follows:

“Roadside Inspections are examinations of commercial motor vehicles and/or

drivers by Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Inspectors.”

MCSAP inspectors check to ensure that drivers and vehicles are FMCSA and HMR compliant. Violations can result in fines or place drivers and/or vehicles under Out-of-Service orders.  

What to Expect During an Inspection

Typically, there are 8 levels of inspections.  Here are some general descriptions of what to expect at each level.   You can find more details on the FMCSA or CVSA websites.

  1. Level I – North American Standard Inspection: A comprehensive inspection of driver and vehicle.  Respective authorities will review the driver’s credentials such as CDL, SKE, HOS.  Also, seatbelt usage, drug or alcohol use, and vehicle inspection reports are evaluated.  Includes inspecting brakes, exhaust, fuel systems, tires, lighting devices, and more.
  2. Level II – Walk-around inspection:  Includes only what the inspector can examine without getting under the vehicle.  
  3. Level III- Driver/Credential/Administration Inspection:  The inspector reviews a driver’s CDL, SKE/Medical Examiner’s certificates, HOS compliance, RODS, and alcohol or drug use.
  4. Level IV – Special Inspection:  Reviews a specific item or confirms a certain trend.
  5. Level V – Vehicle-Only Inspection: Inspection of all operational items listed in Level 1.  The driver does not need to present for this inspection.
  6. Level VI – North American Standard Inspection for Transuranic Waste and Highway Route Controlled Quantities of Radioactive Material:  Ensures that the CMV is compliant with regulations regarding the transport of radioactive materials.  
  7. Level VII – Jurisdictional Mandated Commercial Vehicle Inspection:  Usually includes school buses, shuttles, limos, or taxis, etc.
  8. Level VIII – North American Standard Electronic Inspection:  An electronic inspection conducted while the vehicle is moving.  Checks CDL, GPS coordinates, license status, power unit registration, USDOT number, and more.

Remember, every driver goes under inspection once a year, so don’t panic.  With proper preparation, you can reduce the duration of the inspection.  Also, with the right electronic logging device, the process will go smoother and quicker.

What Happens if You Fail a Roadside Inspection Report?

There is nothing more damaging to the reputation of a driver, as well as the reputation of the fleet the driver is representing, than a failed inspection report. There are many reasons one could fail an inspection, from exterior maintenance errors visible to the inspector to driver impairment due to illness, drugs, or alcohol. 

However, one of the top reasons that drivers fail inspections today is improper ELD systems.

In this instance, there are several explanations, such as the ELD not meeting the requirements as outlined by the FMCSA, improper installation, or not having one installed altogether. 

By refusing to comply with FMCSA’s mandate on ELD systems, truckers then risk failing roadside inspections. As can be imagined, failed inspections due to ELD violations can come with severe consequences, including:

  • Steep fines
  • Being placed out of service
  • Suspension of CDL

Out of all the ways a trucker could fail roadside inspection, do not let an ELD system be your downfall. 

Instead, do the right thing by becoming FMCSA compliant, and you will discover the many improvements to your trucking logistics

At TruckingOffice, ELD systems are not only FMCSA certified, but they are also TMS integrated and simple to use due to the user-friendly application that can be installed on your favorite device.

How ELDs Make Inspections Easier

As you can see in the above list, HOS is a focal point on almost every level.  That’s where an ELD for trucking can help.  The device connects to the vehicle’s engine control module, so it automatically tracks and records the data a roadside inspector looks for, such as:

  • Location
  • Date, time
  • Engine hours
  • Mileage
  • Driver information
  • Seatbelt usage

With the information stored in one place, an ELD streamlines the entire inspection process.  Also, with just a few clicks you can transfer the data to the inspector.  No more searching around for paper documents while the inspector stands by, tapping his foot.  Also, you can send the info via email, electronically, or display it on your phone to the inspector.

Are You ELD Compliant Yet?  

Finding the best ELD for your operation can be confusing because of the many devices and providers to sort through. Also, you’ve got to watch for hidden fees such as training, installation, activation, implementation, or data packages.   With TruckingOffice, you can avoid those issues.  You need a product that is reliable and backed by readily responsive customer support. 
If you’re searching for the best device for your business, check out the features of our system. Whether you have one truck or many, our ELD will make your job easier!

We’ve got a great new video about ELDs and how the TruckingOffice TMS and ELD work together. You need to know how to make your trucking business the most profitable it can be!

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