Roadside Inspections are the #1 component to improving your FMCSA BASIC – Safety Measurement Scores.Inspection

So many companies across the United States are feeling the aches and pains of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s A&I Online – SMS scoring of the 7 BASICs.

Have you or your company experienced this?  If a company’s SMS scores are above a threshold they are immediately placed in an intervention program by the FMCSA.  The first thing that will happen is receiving a “Warning Letter” from the FMCSA.

What do you do now?  If the company doesn’t take action to improve the BASIC score, a COSTLY DOT AUDIT will soon follow.

The key to solve this is Roadside Inspections.  But I must caution you, these roadside inspections must be good clean inspections with no violations.  Several years ago when I was a Colorado State Patrolman working an inspection station.  I was approached by an owner of a trucking company asking our team if we could inspect five of his vehicle so he could improve his CSA Scores.  I told him, “Sure bring them over.”

This owner did and unfortunately we shut all five of the trucks down because they had deficiencies listed in the CVSA Out-of-Service Criteria.  This was huge blow to this company’s SMS and nothing could be done.

Well, one thing could have been done.  The commercial vehicles he brought for inspection should have been Inspection Ready.  I didn’t want to write the guy up while he was trying to improve his SMS Vehicle Maintenance BASIC.  If he would have made sure the vehicles was properly maintenanced they would have passed and his SMS would have improved.

I hear statements like this all the time, “DOT inspectors can always find something to write up” or “It’s impossible to pass a roadside inspection.”  This is 100% False!  I have many clients who have a great maintenance programs and pass nearly all their inspections with ZERO violations.  When they do have a violation it doesn’t matter because they have so many good inspections.

Here are some key points to help you and your company pass roadside inspections:

  1. Know the Rules and Regulations
    1.  Train you Drivers and Maintenance Technicians so they know the rules.
      1. FMCSR Regulation Books – Company must own and update annually the Managem
        Drivers Edition "Pocketbook"

        Drivers Edition “Pocketbook”

        ent Edition and the Driver Edition

        1. 49 CFR 393 Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation
        2. 49 CFR 396 Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance
        3. 49 CFR Appendix G – Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards
        4. CVSA Out-of-Service Criteria
      2. Know you SMS scores and identify the trends in your company’s violation.  Train on these topics
  2. Have a written maintenance program maintain a strict discipline to stick to it!
    1. Keeping up with repairs will help keep the costs down to your fleet.
    2. Help ensure your vehicle will pass an inspection.
  3. Perform Periodic Inspections (49 CFR 396.17) every time a vehicle is in for maintenance
    1. Make sure each Maintenance Technician is properly qualified (49 CFR 396.19)
      1. If your Maintenance Technicians need training is needed contact Front Range Compliance Services and schedule a training session.
  4. Develop a Rewards Program it incentivize drivers and maintenance technicians to pass a roadside inspection in ZERO Violations.
    1. $50 Bonus for Passed Inspections for Drivers
    2. Gift Cards
    3. $250 Bonus for every 10 passed inspections for a Maintenance Technician
  5. Have a Driver – Commercial Motor Vehicle  Inspection Program beyond the daily vehicle inspection requirements
    1. Weekly or biweekly have every driver preform a full vehicle inspection to check all the parts and accessories necessary for safe operation.  Complete a written inspection report and submit it to the maintenance staff for approval.
  6. Identify 2-3 vehicles which work local and are in good order.  Take these vehicles to the inspection site every time the inspector is working in your area.
  7. Get to know the inspectors in your area.  Build a good business relationship.  Use them as a reference and get to know what their expectations are.
  8. ALWAYS be prepared.  A roadside inspection can happen at any time.  Don’t get caught in violation!
Stay off the DOT Radar

Stay off the DOT Radar


Have Questions or Need Assistance?

Contact Front Range Compliance Services