In 2017, the amount of citations and warnings given to truck drivers reached about 59,000. Many drivers follow unsafe behaviors such as speeding, texting, following too closely, and changing lanes improperly; this kind of driving is the leading cause of highway accidents.
Operation Safe Driver Week, which is recognized annually by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), partnered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), falls on July 15 - 21 this year. This week is dedicated to reduce the number of accidents involving trucks and to encourage truckers to abide by the safe driving practices.
While this week is specifically important for trucking officials, roadside inspections take place year-round. You can’t operate a truck without having to go through one or all of these 8 levels:
North American Standard Inspection
The first level can be one of the longest as it has 37 steps where the CVSA inspector inspects the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and the driver. They check such things as the breaking and electrical systems as well as seat belt and drug usage.
Walk-Around Driver or Vehicle Inspection
It’s pretty self-explanatory. The safety inspector will walk around the driver and the truck without going beneath it and examine fully the outside such as the tires and the suspension.
Driver Credential Inspection
This level is strictly a credential examination meaning documents like the commercial driver’s license and the Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate
Usually during this type the inspector is looking at a specific item. Generally this happens to support or discredit a suspected trend or study.
Includes all of the vehicle inspections that level 1 has and it t can be done without the driver present at any location.
North American Standard Inspection for Transuranic Waste and Highway Route Controlled Quantities (HRCQ) of Radioactive Material
This long-titled one deals with radioactive materials and how a CMV follows regulations as well as transports wastes.
Jurisdictional Mandated Commercial Vehicle Inspection
Handles any jurisdictional mandated inspection that doesn’t hold up to the requirements of any other level. This level usually applies to vehicles like school busses and hotel shuttles. Because it is jurisdictional government employees and other approved contractors may inspect for this level as well as the normal safety officer.
North American Standard Electronic Inspection
The last level is still relatively new way of examination in that it can be completed wirelessly while the truck is moving. There are certain data points that the CVSA must account for in order to make this unfamiliar level legitimate such as a descriptive location including GPS coordinates.
Don’t worry there are ways to pass all these inspections! Here are some important things to remember:
If you want to find out more about these examinations, simply google any level you need. Unscheduled inspections can be a pain, but remember that they are for your safety as well as the safety of everyone driving around you. So don’t slack off, get organized now as roadside inspections can happen at any time at any location!