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  • Writer's pictureamonahan

How CDL Truck Drivers Can Avoid Roadside Inspection Violations


Roadside inspections are examinations of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and/or drivers conducted by Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Inspectors. If an inspection results in serious violations, the driver will be issued a driver or vehicle Out-of-Service Order. These violations must be corrected before the driver or vehicle can return to service.


Pre and Post trip inspections are the best way to avoid roadside inspection violations. Drivers should pay close attention to the following items that inspectors are looking for:


1. Parts and Accessories Violations:

  • Not having required operational lamps

  • Clamp/roto-chamber type brake(s) out of adjustment

  • No/discharged/unsecured fire extinguisher

  • Inoperative turn signal

  • Tire flat and/or audible air leak

  • No/defective lighting devices/reflective devices

  • CMV manufactured after 10/19/94 has an automatic airbrake adjustment system that fails to compensate for wear

  • Windshield wipers inoperative/defective

  • Tire tread depth less than 2/32 inch

  • No/insufficient warning devices

2. Vehicle Maintenance Violations:

  • Operating a CMV without proof of a periodic inspection

  • Parts or accessories in disrepair

  • Oil or grease leak

  • Brakes out of service: the number of defective brakes is equal to or greater than 20 percent of the service brakes on the vehicle or combination.

  • Brakes general.

  • Brake system pressure loss.

  • Failure to correct defects noted on previous inspection report

  • Hubs – oil and/or grease leaking from hub – outer wheel

  • Tires (general)

  • A liquid fuel system with a dripping leak at any point

  • Hubs – wheel seal leaking

  • Unsafe operations forbidden

  • Universal joint with loose, broken, or missing component or bearing strap

What happens after a roadside inspection?

First, the inspection data is collected and then used by the Safety Measures Systems (SMS) to prioritize the carrier for future FMCSA interventions. Even inspections with no violations are added to the SMS and can improve a carrier’s SMS data.


Second, any violations can affect the driver’s Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) as well as the carrier’s SMS data.


Third, if the vehicle is found to be unsafe, the inspector may place it out-of-service, meaning that it cannot continue to be operated until safety issues have been corrected. Drivers can also be placed out-of-service.


Carleton Transport takes a proactive stance on safety and requires all drivers to conduct pre and post trip inspections before and after every trip. That way, any issues can be addressed and fixed immediately to help avoid accidents and possible violations.


At Carleton Transport, our goal is to create calm in the chaos of the trucking industry through offering drivers more flexibility. If you’re interested in hearing more about our current driving opportunities, call 402-332-0260 to speak with our recruiter. Or, visit our driving jobs page at carletontransport.com/driving-jobs today.



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