Roadside Assistance

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Safety & Compliance Consultant
+1 513 707 5665
July 14, 2020

What to expect and what will be required to pass inspections

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to wane and we move through various federal, state, local, and company restrictions that surround the pandemic that has affected our personal and professional lives, it is important to remember that as these restrictions dissipate, we will begin to see state and federal roadside inspections increase through the third and fourth quarters of 2020.

FMCSA auditors have a minimum number of inspections annually that must be performed to maintain their certifications as inspectors, and thus, we will likely see a heavy enforcement period for the rest of the year.

To the right are the statistics that show the current roadside inspection tallies for 2020 compared to the past two years.


Data Source: FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) data snapshot as of 5/29/2020, including current year-to-date information for FY 2020. The data presented above are accurate as of this date, but are subject to updates as new or additional information may be reported to MCMIS following the snapshot date.

2020 pace of inspections

  • Current pace of Inspections for the past four years has averaged (January-May):

    Federal inspections: 102.5 State inspections: 35,846.8   Totals: 34,949.3 
  • Current pace of Inspections for 2020 (January-May):

    Federal inspections: 14 State inspections: 16,671   Totals: 16,685

What to expect for Q3 and Q4 2020

Level I – North American Standard Inspection: An inspection that includes examination of driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable); alcohol and drugs; driver’s record of duty status, as required; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable); brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; driveline/driveshaft; exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads); steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims and hubs; windshield wipers; buses, motor coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles – emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, seating, HM/DG and specification cargo tank requirements, as applicable. HM/DG required inspection items will only be inspected by certified HM/DG and cargo tank inspectors, as applicable.

NOTES: (1) If more than 20 percent of pushrod travel on exposed pushrods cannot be measured, then the inspection would not be considered a Level I Inspection and shall be identified as a Level II Inspection; (2) A five-axle vehicle combination with one axle not measured will still require two defective brakes to be placed out of service under the 20 percent brake criteria.

Level II – Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection: An examination that includes each of the items specified under the North American Standard Level II Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection Procedure. As a minimum, Level II Inspections must include examination of: driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable); alcohol and drugs; driver’s record of duty status as required; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable); brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; driveline/driveshaft; exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads); steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims and hubs; windshield wipers; buses, motor coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles – emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, seating, and HM/DG requirements, as applicable. HM/DG required inspection items will only be inspected by certified HM/DG and cargo tank inspectors, as applicable. It is contemplated that the walk-around driver/vehicle inspection will include only those items that can be inspected without physically getting under the vehicle.

Level III – Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection: An examination that includes those items specified under the North American Standard Level III Driver/Credential/ Administrative Inspection Procedure. As a minimum, Level III Inspections must include, where required and/or applicable: examination of the driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate; driver’s record of duty status; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s); and carrier identification and status.

NOTE: Mechanical equipment violations specific to a Level I or Level II Inspection should not be included in a Level III Inspection. If applicable, traffic violations/infractions should be included on a Level III Inspection.