Roadside inspections my seem like a annoyance and stress out fleet managers and drivers. However, inspections are important because they ensure the safety of the driver as well as everyone else on the road.
Roadside inspections are very spot-on and may take some drivers by surprise if they aren't ready. This is why planning ahead and careful preparation can help drivers pass these inspections, and yes they are inevitable.
Here are 6 tips for drivers that would help them pass their next roadside inspection with flying colors.
1. Learn how to be inspection-ready
This is one of our tips that Fleet Managers can play a role in helping with. The CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) has published a manual about being inspection ready. It's pretty thorough and you can find it right here.
The CVSA manual is pretty huge but Fleet Managers can separate the different topics & present it to their drivers. Some fleet managers even quiz the drivers but make it a competition to make it more interesting and to get the drivers to actually want to participate. There is also classes CVSA offers on driver requirements, vehicle requirements, or both.
There are in total 8 level of inspection that exist, but if you are fully ready for Level 1, the North American Standard Inspection, it should prepare you for most of the other levels of inspection.
This inspection is a 37-step procedure. The CVSA safety inspector will thoroughly examine the driver and the CMV. The driver's inspection includes an examination of the driver’s credentials. They will want to see a Medical Examiner’s Certificate, driver’s license, hours-of-service record, license, etc. The vehicle examination includes brake systems, exhaust systems, fuel systems, lighting devices, cargo securement, and more.
Complete details of the Level 1 roadside inspection can be found here.
2. Do a thorough pre-trip inspection
A pre-trip inspection, when done properly, can identify important problems. It can save the driver and the company downtime, expensive repairs, and violations during roadside inspections.
From cargo securement to air leaks, everything must be thoroughly examined.
Also, don’t forget to clean the truck’s windshield. Even Kentucky State Police Sergeant, Jason Morris said, "A dirty windshield can target you for a roadside inspection. Besides being a safety issue, a dirty windshield can be a sign of other problems."
Morris also recommends walking around your truck. Take your time on your pre-inspection and make sure the truck is safe to drive.
Brakes, lights, or tires are often reasons of a failed inspection. Check the tire pressure as well as tread depth. Look for exhaust leaks, working turn signals, headlights, tail and brake lights, and a secure load during pre-trip inspections.
3. Follow the hours of service (HOS) rules
Non-compliance with hours-of-service rules may lead to citations and violations during roadside inspections. During the CVSA International Roadcheck 2018, hours-of-service violations represented 43.7% of all driver out-of-service conditions.
Although electronic logging devices (ELDs) now record hours-of-service information automatically, drivers still need to understand how hours-of-service rules work.
Drivers should also learn to understand the specific hours-of-service rules that apply to them, hours-of-service exemptions that they qualify for, and rules about personal conveyance and yard moves. The summary of hours-of-service rules on the FMCSA website and this in-depth FMCSA discussion of the HOS rules are both excellent resources.
4. Stay ELD compliant
The ELD mandate is in full effect, and non-exempt drivers require FMCSA-compliance electronic logging devices to stay compliant.
Non-compliance with the ELD regulations and the improper use of the ELD are now essential elements of all roadside inspections. 22 different ELD violations now affect a carrier’s SMS score, and ELD violations can place drivers out-of-service.
Therefore, complying with the ELD mandate and understanding ELD violations and regulations are important for successfully passing roadside inspections.
5. Obey all traffic rules
Drivers can avoid roadside inspections by obeying all traffic rules and driving safely. If you are violating traffic laws, you may stand out and be pulled over for a roadside inspection.
Here are a few tips to follow:
Stay away from cell phones
Wear your seatbelt correctly with the shoulder strap crossing your chest and the lap belt secured
Obey traffic signals and road signs
Avoid speeding and harsh driving
6. Offer your drivers incentives
Fleet managers can also offer incentives to drivers for successful roadside inspections in the form of monetary and non-monetary rewards.
By offering a reward that drivers want to work towards, you can encourage more thorough pre-trip inspections, careful planning, and more commitment towards successfully passing roadside inspections.
During the CVSA International Roadcheck 2018, which took place from June 5 to June 7 last year, a total 67,502 vehicles were inspected. Out of those, inspectors identified 11,897 vehicles and 2,664 drivers with out-of-service conditions.
Follow the tips mentioned in this article to pass roadside inspections successfully. Focus on pre-trip inspections, understand hours-of-service rules and ELD regulations, and drive legally to improve your chances.
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