Vehicle Inspections & Maintenance

Vehicle Inspections and truck maintenance can help you control costs and keep drivers safe on the road. A properly executed vehicle inspection can help your drivers:

  • Discover unsafe conditions before they cause accidents or crashes
  • Find mechanical problems before they lead to costly breakdowns
  • Avoid being placed out of service during a roadside DOT inspection, or being subject to infractions and fines

Understanding critical information about performing a vehicle inspection, filling out a vehicle inspection report, and the consequences of a roadside DOT inspection, helps protect your equipment, your drivers, and your organization's reputation.

And, not only do vehicle inspections make good sense – they are required. Drivers also need to know what to check on the vehicle and how to spot defects, who to call when there is a problem, and how and when to submit documentation.

A regimen of a complete pre-trip at the beginning of the day, walk-around inspection every time the vehicle is parked, and a post-trip at the end of the day is the best practice. That, coupled with a competent maintenance department, can keep your vehicles on the road, in good shape, and help keep your CSA BASIC scores low.

Essential Vehicle Inspections & Maintenance Solutions

Surviving Roadside Inspections

Roadside inspections are not the most enjoyable time for drivers. Many drivers see the process as a waste of their day and a few drivers see it as an intrusion of their privacy. And today, with the CSA program scoring drivers and carriers on their roadside performance, the roadside inspection carries more weight than ever before.

Improving your odds

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles are required by federal regulation to submit to an inspection when requested by an enforcement official. But there are things that drivers and motor carriers can do, or have control over, to decrease their chances of being selected for an inspection.

  • Keep your equipment clean A dirty tractor and trailer usually speaks volumes about its mechanical condition. Keep equipment well maintained and clean!
  • Conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection Obvious problems like burned-out lights, air leaks, or low tires can be discovered during a pre-trip inspection. That’s the time to catch them, before an enforcement officer does.
  • Watch your weight Check the vehicle’s weight before heading down the road.
  • Drive courteously Drive the speed limit and don’t stand out in a crowd. Following too closely will get an officer’s attention very quickly.
  • Keep your log up-to-date Do you quickly grab your logbook and catch it up while you’re waiting in line at the scale? Hopefully not! Logs should always be current to the last change in duty status (i.e., the point at which you last began driving).
  • Don’t use illegal after-market lighting at night We all like the colorful light displays but, legally, they can only be on while parked. Examples of this are neon or black lights in the cab, purple lights installed in the load lights, red lights installed in the front clearance and ID lamps, etc.
  • Wear your seatbelt Many drivers do not wear them, and they forget to put them on when pulling into a scale. An observant inspector will notice this and might choose your driver for an inspection.
  • Don’t use a radar detector Several jurisdictions now have and use radar detector detectors at the scale houses.
  • Have good luck Believe it or not, some inspections are conducted on a purely random basis. But being prepared for an inspection at all times can prevent most common violations.

Vehicle Maintenance

CMV failure due to improper or inadequate maintenance will affect your Vehicle Maintenance BASIC scores. Click here to learn more about CSA and the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC.

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