Roadside Inspections in the Digital Age
Roadside Inspections in the Digital Age

Roadside inspections are common for commercial truck drivers. Like many things, however, the way roadside inspections happen and the way they affect truckers might also change and evolve a little bit from now on.

As technology involves more and more in our daily lives, we are moving towards automation with each passing day. Roadside inspections are no exception.

Currently, there are seven (7) CVSA roadside inspection levels that drivers are familiar with. However, as we dive deeper into the digital age with technologies such as wireless connections and electronic logging devices, a new level of roadside inspection is being introduced.

In this article, we are going to learn more about that.

Overall, we are going to discuss the following:

  •   7 current levels of roadside inspection
  •   The new 8th level of roadside inspection
  •   A quick overview of CVSA’s International Roadcheck 2017 results
  •   How ELDs can help drivers and carriers with roadside inspections

Let’s start from the top.

7 Levels of Roadside Inspections

As mentioned earlier, currently there are seven different levels of roadside inspections that drivers and carriers are mostly familiar with.

Although the Level-1 North American Standard Inspection is the most comprehensive one, the other levels do not necessarily decline in comprehensiveness as we move towards Level 7.

Let’s discuss all the different levels of roadside inspections.

Level 1 — North American Standard Inspection

As we just mentioned, the Level-1 North American Standard Inspection is the most comprehensive and detailed examination of both the commercial motor vehicle as well as the commercial driver.

The Level-1 North American Standard Inspection is a 37-step procedure, which involves the examination of the following items:

Vehicle examination involves inspection of the following:

  •   Suspension, tire, rim, hub, and wheel assemblies
  •   Open-top trailer and van bodies
  •   Windshield wiper and emergency exit operations
  •   Driveshafts/driveline and steering mechanisms
  •   Coupling and lighting device operations
  •   Hazardous material compliance
  •   Cargo tank specification compliance
  •   Cargo securement compliance
  •   Braking systems
  •   Electrical systems
  •   Exhaust systems
  •   Fuel systems

Commercial driver examination involves inspection of the following:

  •   Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate
  •   Seatbelt
  •   Records of Duty Status compliance, aka RODS compliance.
  •   Hours of Service compliance, aka HOS compliance.
  •   Alcohol usage
  •   Drug usage
  •   Commercial driver’s license, aka CDL.
  •   Medical examiner’s certificate

Level 2 — Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection

The Level-1 walk-around driver or vehicle inspection includes examination of items that can be inspected without physically going under the vehicle.

As a minimum requirement, the CVSA lists the inspection of the following items:

  •   Windshield wipers
  •   Wheels
  •   Hubs and rims
  •   Van and open-top trailer bodies
  •   Tires
  •   Suspension
  •   Steering mechanisms
  •   Headlamps
  •   Tail lamps
  •   Stop lamps
  •   Turn signals
  •   Lamps on projecting loads
  •   Frames
  •   Fuel system
  •   Driveline/driveshaft
  •   Exhaust systems
  •   Coupling device
  •   Cargo securement
  •   Brake system
  •   Vehicle inspection reports
  •   Seatbelt
  •   Alcohol and drugs
  •   Hours of Service record
  •   Record of Duty Status
  •   Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate
  •   Medical examiner’s certificate
  •   CDL (Commercial driver’s license)

Level 3 — Driver/Credential Inspection

The CVSA lists specific items that can be examined in a Level-3 Driver/Credential inspection. The items that are not included in the North American Standard Level 3 inspection procedure should not be included in a Level 3 inspection.

The items that need to be examined — when required or applicable — are:

  •   Vehicle inspection report(s)
  •   Seatbelt
  •   Hours of Service record
  •   Record of Duty Status (RODS)
  •   SPE Certificate
  •   Medical examiner’s office
  •   Driver’s CDL

Level 4 — Special Inspections

Level 4 special inspections are different than the first three levels of inspection, as it generally includes a one-time examination of a specific item.

Such level 4 inspections are usually conducted to either refute a suspected trend or verify a study.

Level 5 — Vehicle-Only Inspection

In the Level-1 North American Standard Inspection, we discussed items-to-be-inspection for commercial drivers as well commercial vehicles.

An inspection of all those vehicle-related items without a driver present at any location would be counted as a Level-5 vehicle-only inspection. The items that are examined would be:

  •   Suspension, tire, rim, hub, and wheel assemblies
  •   Open-top trailer and van bodies
  •   Windshield wiper and emergency exit operations
  •   Driveshafts/driveline and steering mechanisms
  •   Coupling and lighting device operations
  •   Hazardous material compliance
  •   Cargo tank specification compliance
  •   Cargo securement compliance
  •   Braking systems
  •   Electrical systems
  •   Exhaust systems
  •   Fuel systems

Level 6 — Transuranic Waste and HRCQ of Radioactive Material

The CVSA’s Level 6 examination include inspection for select radiological shipments, including inspection procedures, enhancements to the North American Standard Level 1 Inspection, radiological requirements and the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria for Transuranic Waste and High Route Controlled Quantities (HRQC) of radioactive materials.

Level 7 — Jurisdictional Mandated CMV Inspection

Any jurisdictionally mandated CMV inspection that does not fall into any of the other levels of inspection would be counted as a Level-7 Jurisdictional Mandated Commercial Vehicle Inspection.

The Level-7 inspection usually applies to intrastate/intra-provincial operations. For example, school buses, shared-ride transportation, hotel courtesy shuttles, taxis, limousines, etc.

The Level-7 inspections can be conducted by CVSA-certified inspectors as well as by designated government employees or jurisdiction-approved contractors.

Moreover, unlike other inspection levels in which CVSA decals are issues, CVSA decals are not issues for Level-7 inspections. A jurisdiction-specific decal may be applied.

The 8th Level of Roadside Inspection

Apart from these seven levels of roadside inspection, now a new 8th level of roadside inspection is being introduced.

The Level-8 inspection, which is also known as North American Inspection Electronic Inspections, are conducted wirelessly or electronically while the vehicle is in motion. As it is conducted wirelessly, it does not include any direct interaction between the commercial driver and the safety inspector.

The examination items are:

  •   Federal out-of-service orders
  •   Unified Carrier Registration compliance
  •   Operating authority
  •   Power unit registration
  •   USDOT number
  •   Hours of Service (HOS) compliance
  •   Record of Duty Status (RODS)
  •   Medical examiner’s certificate
  •   SPE certificate
  •   CDL status
  •   Electronic validation of the vehicle’s operator
  •   A descriptive location including GPS coordinates

So here is all the detail you need to know regarding all the different levels of roadside inspections. Now, let’s take a brief look at the CVSA’s International Roadcheck 2017 results, which would allow you to identify the most common violations for drivers as well as commercial motor vehicles.

The CVSA’s 2017 Inspection Blitz Results

The CVSA International Roadcheck is a 72-hour event where approximately 15 inspections happen every minute.

Every year, the CVSA focuses on a specific violation to raise awareness. The focus of this year was “cargo securement”.

This year, a total of 62,013 CMVs were inspected — out of which 7,713 inspections happened in Canada while the rest of the 54,300 inspections happened in the United States of America.

More importantly, nearly 19.4% of inspected commercial motor vehicles and 4.7% of commercial drivers were placed out-of-service for critical violations.

For vehicle-related violations, the top 3 violation categories that led to the most out-of-service vehicles are:

  •   Braking systems (26.9%)
  •   Cargo securement (15.7%)
  •   Tire/wheel assemblies (15.1%)

For driver-related violations, the top 3 categories are:

  •   Hours of Service violation (32.3%)
  •   Wrong license class (14.9%)
  •   Falsified log books (11.3%)

Can ELDs Help Drivers During Roadside Inspections?

Definitely!

With ELDs, many of these violations wouldn’t have happened.

For instance, ELDs automatically alert drivers and fleet administrators for upcoming HOS violations. Following the instructions would have eliminated the Hours of Service violations that resulted in 32.3% drivers placed out of service.

ELDs also completely eliminate several other violations, such as falsified log books, because of which 11.3% drivers were placed out of service during the CVSA Roadcheck 2017.

Moreover, many electronic logging devices are also equipped with vehicle diagnostic features, which identify any fault codes in the vehicle (such as faults with braking systems and tire/wheel assemblies) and alert drivers and fleet managers.

ELDs minimize and even eliminate violations in many scenarios, which only speed up the roadside inspection process.

Just make sure that you are picking the right feature-rich ELD solution.

Use our free ELD features comparison and ELD price comparison charts to find the best, most feature-rich, and cost-effective ELD solution.

Stay tuned for more useful information regarding ELD mandate, ELD rule compliance, and trucking industry related news.

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