How to prepare for a roadside inspection

11.08.2022 Reading time: 3 minutes
If you’re new to trucking, you may be wondering what to expect during a roadside inspection. For starters, it’s helpful to know that roadside inspections are conducted by law enforcement officials in order to ensure that commercial vehicles are in compliance with state and federal regulations. There are actually eight different levels of inspection that could be performed on a driver and/or their vehicle that are typically conducted. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has a helpful comprehensive explanation of each of the inspection levels. If everything looks good, the inspection will only take a few minutes. However, if the officer finds any violations, they may issue a citation or even place the driver out of service.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that, for the calendar year 2018 there were 126,080 roadside inspections and 3,405,923 state stand side inspections. These numbers show an increase from previous years:

  • 79% of drivers as out of service
  • 83% of vehicles as out of service
  • 11% of hazmat loads as out of service

Regardless of how long you’ve been an owner-operator or a carrier, if your truck is old or new, no matter what lanes you run, there will come a time when you are waved in for a Roadside Inspection. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help make sure your inspection goes smoothly.

Here are 4 tips to prepare for a roadside inspection.

1. Always perform a DVIR.

Having a quick Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Roadside Inspection is only one reason why you should be performing regular pre-trip inspections every time you hit the road. Follow a Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) to make sure you’re checking off all the right boxes on your truck. Here are a few things to check:

  • Battery
  • Brakes
  • Clutch
  • Defrost
  • Exhaust

Attention to detail in this process will pay off during a typical roadside inspection.

2. Review the Annual Vehicle Inspection Report.

Regularly review the FMCSA’s Annual Vehicle Inspection Report, especially before your area’s Department of Transportation (DOT) inspection period every summer.

3. Know how to work your ELD. 

When it’s time for your inspection, make sure you have all of the necessary documentation. The inspector will need to see your ELD logs, so make sure you know how to email your e-logs to the inspector. Understanding how your ELD works and helping the inspector find what they need will speed up the entire process and get you back on the road. Watch the tutorial here: TrackEnsure ELD Tutorial.

4. Have your documents in order.

Make sure you have your documentation organized and in order, ideally in a binder or folder that you can easily access. The following documents are what you’re going to need:

  • Driver’s license
  • Registration
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate
  • Record of Duty Status
  • Annual inspection records
  • Hazardous materials paperwork
  • Permit credentials.

VTS Transportation Inc, is here to help. If you need more information feel free to reach our safety department at (916) 666-3330. If you enjoyed this article, find all our useful articles on our website under our Blog tab.

Drive safe out there!