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.

About Western Truck Insurance Services

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.