Understanding Roadside Inspections

Roadside Inspection

According to the CVSA, about four-million commercial motor vehicle inspections are conducted every year throughout North America. Inspections are conducted on various levels, ranging from Level I North American Standard (NAS) Inspection to Level VII Jurisdictional Mandated Inspection.

What should a driver expect during a roadside inspection? How can a driver prepare?

The first thing the Inspector will make note of is whether or not the driver is wearing a safety belt and if the driver is wearing required eye glasses or hearing aids.

Some drivers say they have to unbuckle their safety belt to get to their wallet. If so, always wait until the Inspector is present before unbuckling . . . And stay in the truck.

“I’ll be doing a level three, driver inspection. I need to see your log book, shipping papers, trip receipts, tractor and trailer registration.”

The Inspector will attempt to establish a rapport with the driver and to put the driver at ease. The inspector will study the body language of the driver. The Inspector will ask a series of questions from the get-go, The inspector may ask questions as:

Where did you load? When?
Where did you last pick-up fuel?
Do you have that fuel receipt?
Do you have any other receipts for this trip?
Where is your load headed?

The inspector will generally collect any driver trip paperwork as soon as possible. All the time, the inspector is looking for information to pinpoint the driver to certain places and times during the course of the trip or the previous seven days. The goal is to build a timeline to see if driver is keeping accurate records in the log book.

The inspector will frame questions to require a narrative answer from the driver and will keep the driver engaged in conversation to gain additional information. The inspector will verify time and locations with trip receipts, other trip documents and information from driver.

The inspector is looking for red flags as:

  • A trip in the mountains or in bad weather averaging 500 or more miles per day.
  • A driver taking a whole day off— four days into a trip— if the driver is paid mileage.
  • Inconsistencies in what the driver says, body language or trip documents.

The Secret

What’s the secret to passing a Roadside Inspection?

Besides doing a good pre-trip inspection and keeping good trip records, a driver should be organized and always log accurately.