The Level One Post-crash Inspection

Crash Indicator BASIC

Q. Can a Roadside Inspector conduct an inspection after a collision? How is this fair, if the vehicle has been mashed up?

A. A commercial vehicle involved in a crash can be given a Level I North American Standard Inspection (Safety Inspection) covering: driver’s license, medical examiner’s certificate (if required), and medical waiver, if applicable, alcohol and drugs, driver’s record of duty status as required, hours of service, seat belt, vehicle inspection report, and critical items as the brake system, coupling devices, exhaust system, frame, fuel system, turn signals, brake lamps, tail lamps, head lamps, lamps on projecting loads, safe loading, steering mechanism, suspension, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels and rims, windshield wipers, emergency exits on buses, and HM requirements, as applicable.

If some of the parts and accessories are damaged due to the crash, the officer may document any defects that need to be repaired before the vehicle can go back on the road. If the defects were the result of the collision, then no CSA points for the defects should be assessed against the carrier.

Tip: Check your Crash Indicator BASIC After a Crash

Any post-crash vehicle damage to parts or accessories due to a collision should not result in CSA points. Check your CSA scores on your Crash Indicator BASIC at least thirty to forty-five days after the collision.  If CSA points were assessed against your organization in error, they can be challenged through the DOT’s DataQs system.




Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise. Someone from the DOT is at your office door looking for a manager. DOT audits may be unannounced. A recent DOT publication said, “As planned, the safety inspection caught the owner . . . off guard.”

Requested records need to be produced upon DOT request. Willfully obstructing FMSCA’s access to records needed to determine the company’s safety compliance is illegal. Making any intentional false statements to the DOT is illegal, too.

The DOT regulations “prohibit a motor carrier, its agents, officers, represen­tatives, or employees from making, or causing to be made, a fraudulent or inten­tionally false statement on any required document or record, to include driver’s records of duty status.” There are serious implications for not following the DOT rules.

What’s the best approach? There is simply no right way to do the wrong thing. Make a good faith attempt at limiting risk through compliance. Maintain a system of checks and balances. The wrong steps early-on can lead to later difficulties.

Finally, if audited by the DOT, don’t sign anything that you doesn’t seem right.

Black Flag Bandits

If you are just starting up, beware of phone calls from unethical false flag or black flag telemarketers who claim to represent the US DOT or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or claim to have a “special in” with the DOT. One firm says, “We are a full service operation for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,” implying that one is talking directly with the DOT.

Others may claim they can “design bold strategies to defeat federal safety inspections,” or that their specialty is “polishing” or sanitizing documents and records to avoid DOT “red flags.”

As the old saying goes, trust but verify. Make an effort to identify and know who you are telephonically discussing your critical business matters with.