Down the Road: Electronic Truck Inspections

Truck inspections are expected to change as federal trucking regulators and commercial vehicle enforcement agencies push for wireless roadside inspections. Motor carriers will have to equip their trucks with devices to transmit the identity and condition of trucks and drivers to roadside enforcement. However, according to the North American Transportation Association (NTA), how motor carriers would transmit truck and driver data is not clear. 

For example, there are questions that remain unanswered involving the proposed implementation of Universal Identification (UID), which would provide quick transmission and recognition of a truck as it moves down the highway. Roadside enforcement will use this electronically transmitted information to make screening and inspection decisions.

What the Trucking Industry Says About UID Utilization

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requested comments on UID implementation and sought input on how to broadcast sensitive information, the cost involved, and what information would be required. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), truck manufacturers, trucking associations, and other stakeholders, in their input to the FMCSA, agreed that the UID should be limited to a single point of data, such as the vehicle identification number. They made clear that UID based on a single point of data must:

  • Identify the vehicle for compliance, inspection, or enforcement purposes
  • Not transmit personal identifiable information (PII) regarding operators
  • Not create an undue cost burden for operators and carriers

These requirement requests, however, fell by the wayside and never made it into the infrastructure bill that was passed. As a result, there are industrywide concerns over UID implementation that include data use, data transmission, data protection, safety benefits, and costs. Some of the questions being asked, according to the NTA, include the following:

  • How will UID improve highway safety?
  • How would carrier and driver data be transmitted and received?
  • How would data transmission and data storage be protected?
  • How would data be used after carriers provide it to federal and state entities? Clear definitions and boundaries of how this data will be used are needed.
  • How will a new mandate on carrier and driver data impact the trucking industry? Requiring drivers to submit and broadcast PII data as they drive down the road could impact driver recruitment and retention. 
  • Will states be held liable unless every truck violation is detained? What happens if a truck drives past a weigh station at 2 a.m. and transmits info that points to an out-of-service or hours of service violation? If the state doesn’t pull the truck over and it gets in a wreck, would the state be liable? 
  • What will motor carriers receive for providing additional data?

These issues should be addressed as the number-one goal for everyone to improve highway safety and mitigate potential emerging exposures.

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Western Truck Insurance Services is an insurance brokerage specializing in commercial truck insurance. We know this stuff and want to make sure you do too. Our clients appreciate our dedication to finding competitive rates and offering unparalleled service beyond excellent insurance options. They also value how our state-of-the-art automation provides lightning-fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) International Roadcheck Event

Once a year, a three-day event initiative supports driver and vehicle safety through commercial vehicle inspections. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducts the International Roadcheck Event. It is where certified inspectors look for areas of compliance, enforce infractions and help educate the thousands of truckers operating around the globe. Further, they hold this event to ensure driver and vehicle safety and regulatory compliance. 


Inspectors evaluate almost 15 buses or trucks every minute in North America during this 72-hour event. Since it started in 1988, this massive inspection initiative has done much to educate commercial vehicle operators and the general public about the value of safe vehicle operations.

Targeted Inspections

Every year, the CVSA establishes a date for the inspection to establish driver and vehicle safety. The organization uses roving patrols by utilizing weight and inspection stations across significant interstates and highways. Additionally, they do this by setting up temporary inspection sites. 

The International Roadcheck occurs throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. While several issues are on the radar, the CVSA will select an area of emphasis each year. Also, primary focus areas include lighting violations and Hours of Service violations.

For the year 2022, the focus is on wheel ends. The CVSA published data that reveals that nearly one-quarter of the out-of-service violations discovered during the annual road check event involve wheel-end components. As a trend amongst International Roadcheck violations, wheel-end components rank as a top 10 item. Multiple factors could explain why a problem could happen with a wheel end component, but there is no need to delay getting the problem repaired with physical damage truck insurance. It could help avoid the consequences of a violation.

Inspection Procedures

The components of the wheel check include the following areas. Proactively addressing possible concerns can increase the chances of passing a Level I or Level V inspection.

  1. Look for debris between tires.
  2. Check for the contact between tires or any part of the vehicle.
  3. Analyze for proper inflation and tread groove depth.
  4. Check inner wheel seal, tire, and valve stem for leaks.
  5. Search for cuts and bulges, improper repairs, and exposed cords or fabric.
  6.  Identify markings that exclude use on a steering axle.
  7. Check for regrooved tires on the steering axle.

Inspection Types

Under a Level I Inspection, a 37-step process occurs. Likewise, it determines compliance with vehicle mechanical fitness and driver operating compliance. An inspector has the liberty to conduct a Level II Walker-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection, a Level III Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection, or a Level V Vehicle-Only Inspection. The goal is to ensure that every vehicle on the roadway is properly working. It supports both the driver’s safety who is operating the vehicle and all the other motorists traveling down the road.

Level I

In a Level I inspection, drivers can expect an examination of their driver’s license, Medical Examiner’s Certificate, and applicable Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate. The search will look for alcohol or drugs, review the service hours and record of duty status and look for seat belt usage. The vehicle inspection will include inspection reports, cargo securement, coupling devices, brake systems, fuel systems, and lighting devices. Passenger carrying vehicles also get inspected for searing, emergency exits, electrical systems, and cables in the engine and battery compartments. This list isn’t comprehensive but provides an idea of how thorough a Level I inspection could be.

Level V

A level V inspection focuses on the vehicle. This inspection doesn’t require a driver to be present and includes the detailed inspection standards of a Level I inspection.

Inspection Results

The North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria is a pass-fail standard for the International Roadcheck inspections. Additionally, critical violations can render a vehicle, cargo, or driver out-of-service. It stays that way until the operator or the owners correct or repairs the issue. Each year, the CVSA issues the items and detail that could cause an out-of-service violation. Four results might generally happen if a driver must go through Level I or a Level V inspection. 

Passing Inspection with No Violation

If an inspector doesn’t find any violation, they will apply the special CVSA decal to the vehicle. It marks the successful inspection passing and does not require re-inspection for three months. Also, it is how long the decal remains valid. Vehicles bearing this decal do not have to stop during a Roadcheck Inspection Event.

Minor Violations Are Found

An inspection can reveal minor violations that won’t jeopardize receiving a decal. So long as they are not a part of the critical service category, the inspectors note these violations on the inspection report and issue a decal. However, they withhold a decal if the violation is on the rear impact guard.

Critical Violations Are Found

Should an inspector identify a critical vehicle inspection item violation, the inspector notes it on the report before the vehicle can continue on its way. These vehicles are not eligible for a CVSA decal and could be subject to another inspection. Thus, inspectors determine that the driver and vehicle safety is insufficient to allow the truck to continue operating. 

Out-of-Service Violations Are Found

If the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria identifies a violation, the inspector declares the vehicle out of service. It requires any identified violations to the vehicle. Then, the vehicle would need repair and go through the re-inspection process. 

Proactive Efforts

Though normal wear and tear can cause maintenance issues, commercial vehicles may experience damage from accidents involving other vehicles or incidents with weather or stationary objects. With physical damage truck insurance, you can seek the repairs necessary to avoid getting caught with a violation during an inspection.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!

Keep Truck Brakes Working in the Winter | Trucking Safety

The winter temperatures and elements are hard on any vehicle. The extra moisture in the air and on the roads wreaks havoc on every system in your rig. When water gets into the air brake system, it can cause corrosion and freezing, taking your rig out of commission for hours, maybe even days. The salt and chemicals used to keep roads free of ice and snow can get into the air brakes and cause corrosion and damage.

Frozen truck brakes and winter damage are preventable, though. How can you keep air brakes working in winter? You’ll need to take steps to winterize your rig and watch for damage. Preventative maintenance is key.

A Clean Air Supply

Whether you have foundation drum or air disc brakes, you should drain the air tanks of moisture and contaminants. When the air temperature shifts 30 degrees Fahrenheit or more, moisture can accumulate. If you experience this shift in a 24-hour period, you should check the air system after driving for another week.

Winterizing Drum Brake Components

Check the chamber housings for damage and corrosion. Corrosion attracts corrosive materials, leading to failure of the housing. Check that the chamber’s dust plug is correctly installed. Lubrication is an enemy of corrosion. All components in the drum brake need to be properly lubricated, the automatic slack adjusters, clevis pin connection points, cam tubes, shafts and bushings.

Any worn rubber seals can cause air to escape and moisture to invade the system. Get your rig checked before you drive in the colder months. Remember that it gets much colder in the mountains as early as September and can stay colder until May or even June, depending on the elevation. Always consider your route and the conditions under which you be driving.

Air Disc Brakes Winterization

Visually inspect the ADBs. Look for cuts and tears in the boots. A small tear allows moisture and contaminants to enter the caliper, causing it to corrode. Replace if necessary. Make sure the pads move freely in the carrier. If not, you’ll need to remove them, clean the carrier surface with a wire brush and then replace the pads. Check the thickness of the pads and rotors. Minimum rotor thickness is 37mm; friction thickness is 2mm or greater.

Replace Cartridges

If you drive in harsh or cold climates, replace the air dryer cartridge before the season. This prevents moisture from getting into the system and causing frozen truck brakes. Make sure to replace it with the right cartridge. An oil-coalescing cartridge needs to be replaced with a similar product to maintain the quality of the air.

Examine the air dryer’s purge valve. Look for signs of corrosion or an accumulation of grit. Clean it or replace it if necessary. This simple maintenance item can prevent malfunction during the harsher winter weather and save you time and headaches down the road.

What About Using Alcohol?

A traditional solution to treating frozen brakes is to add alcohol. Most experts agree that while this may solve your immediate problem, it will lead to long-term issues. It can damage the seals. Some air brake systems have an alcohol evaporator, which does keep air lines and reservoirs free of ice. However, you should only use approved products in this component. Check with your mechanic before trying to unfreeze air brakes using an alcohol product. It will be frustrating to be stuck, but if your vehicle is down for maintenance later, you haven’t saved that much time.

Driving Tips for Winter Safety

If you’re driving with air brakes in the winter, you have to keep the system dry and the pressure up. Make sure to allow even more stopping distance on wet and slippery roads than you would on dry roads. If your system doesn’t have antilock brakes, pump lightly on the brakes to maintain steering control.

Always check your truck before heading out on the road. Make sure the minimum operating pressure is no less than 100 psi for a truck with an air-brake system. It should not take longer than 2 minutes for air pressure to rise from 85 psi to 100 psi.

If you’re inexperienced in driving under winter conditions, check with your company to see if they have some training or another driver who can work with you to let you gain confidence in handling the rig in snow, ice, sleet and/extreme cold. It’s important to know how to handle mountains, country roads and city byways under wet and cold conditions. While it can be humbling to ask for help, if it saves your life, your truck and the lives of others on the road, that should be your concern.

Check all the components of the air brake system regularly throughout the winter to ensure proper performance. Poor maintenance can result in senseless deaths and injuries. It’s important to stay on top of brake maintenance all year long, but even more important in winter months. Take good care of your truck, and it will take care of you.