Roadside inspections are part of the job for professional truck drivers. The goal of these inspections is to ensure both the truck and driver are in compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. Trucks are taken out of service (OOS) when an inspector finds a serious violation that warrants the issuance of an order. The most commonly found violations include: brakes out of adjustment or other brake problems, problems with tires and wheels, lights, and cargo load securement.
There are 5 levels of inspection. A level 1 inspection is the most thorough and includes both a paperwork review and an inspection of the vehicle. A level 2 inspection is the same as level one, but the inspector is not required to get under the vehicle. A level 3 inspection includes only an inspection of paperwork. A level 4 inspection focuses on a particular item of truck, like the brakes. A level 5 inspection takes place at the carrier.
Tips for Handing Roadside Inspection:
1. Always be polite and professional.
2. Know the OOS criteria. This includes braking systems, exhaust systems, pintle hooks, coupling devices, fuel systems, lighting, load securement, suspension, tires and rims, frame, windshield wipers, place carding and logs. Always check these items before you leave to avoid problems.
3. Carry all required documentation including your driver’s license, medical certificate, proof of inspection documentation, all road related paperwork, and your log book.
4. Make sure your tires and wheels are in good condition. Balding tires or sidewall damage are a red flag for a more thorough inspection.
5. Make sure your log book is completely up to date and neat. If you are undergoing a level 1 inspection, the inspectors will go through it.
6. Inspectors take equipment violations seriously, particularly when they involve brakes. Check your brakes often, and then mark and measure. Keep your measurements handy to prove to the inspector that you checked them.
7. Secure your load properly. Familiarize yourself with FMSCA requirements at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=392.9