Equipment Mug Shots from Recent Roadside Inspections

loose or missing

All the lug nuts are loose. Except for the one that’s not there at all . . .

Clues: Shiny metal. Steams of corrosion.

But it only gets worse . . .


This photo was also recently taken at a roadside inspection. There was only one lug nut on this set of wheels.

What was this driver thinking?

During a pre-trip inspection, drivers need to look for:
– Stud or bolt holes out of round.
– Cracks between the hand holes (or air vents).
– Cracks between hand hold and bolt holes.
– Cracks from handhold to rim.
– Cracks from bolt hole to bolt hole.
– Check valve stem for damage and valve cap is in place.
– Check valve hole for damage or severe corrosion.
– Look for illegal welds or repairs.

Grab each lug nut and give it a hard twist to check for any looseness.
– Check for looseness indicated by rust streaks or shiny metal.
– Look for oxidation on aluminum rims.
– There should be no missing lugs or missing studs.

I like to highlight training points with newspaper stories.

Seriously injured by a loose wheel.

Now, Let’s Check the Brakes . . .

loose chamber

The old “piece of rope and bungee cord trick” to hold up your brake chamber . . .  A good way to someday meet in the judge’s chambers.


Been putting on some miles lately? Slick road meet slick tire.

Lastly, here is a recent, short video (less than 1 minute) that shows what happens when the suspension system is not inspected . . .

Incredible Tales of Woe

The stories coming from Roadside Inspectors are unbelievable. When you hear of the trucks with tires and wheels about to fly off (wheel offs), steering with massive free play, trailers with no kingpins, etc., it can send a chill down your spine.

When you actually see it, it’s hard to fathom how any driver would allow things to go that far or get that bad. Somebody is not doing their job. Part of the job is doing a good pre-trip inspection.

A Good Pre-trip Inspection

A good pre-trip means drivers should “Inspect to fail.”

Inspect to fail means to give as thorough an inspection as possible looking for all of a vehicle’s present safety defects or faults. Inspect to fail means, if a part, component or system on a vehicle (or the driver) does not meet, or fails to meet the standards in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, (FMCSRs) 49 CFR Part 393 Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation, then the vehicle is not roadworthy and should not be driven.

Keep in mind that the FMCSRs are the MINIMUM safety standards.

  • 392.7 Equipment, inspection and use.

No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver is satisfied that the following parts and accessories are in good working order, . . .

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Parking (hand) brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Windshield wiper or wipers
  • Rear-vision mirror or mirrors
  • Coupling devices.
  • 393.1 Scope of rules in this part.

“Every employer and employee shall comply and be conversant with the requirements and specifications of this part. No employer shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, or cause or permit it to be operated, unless it is equipped in accordance with the requirements and specifications of this part.”

Drivers need to know these regulations like the back of their hands to be “conversant.”

Thank you for reading this.

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