What You Need to Know About CSA Roadside Inspections
CSA stands for compliance, safety and accountability. A roadside inspection is performed to ensure that commercial drivers are operating well-maintained vehicles in a safe manner. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has statistically demonstrated that such inspections make a difference, which means that inspections happen more frequently, are more comprehensive and require a great level of documentation whether an infraction has occurred or not.
Roadside Inspection Levels
There are eight different levels when it comes to roadside inspections. The first level is also known as the North American Standard Inspection. This procedure involves nearly 40 steps used to assess both the commercial driver and the commercial vehicle. Other levels include the walk around, credentials inspection, special, examination of electronics and so forth. The initial level often depends on where and when the inspection occurs. The inspector may also add levels based on the information gathered.
Companies Need to Be Aware of CSA Inspections
Some novice drivers are under the erroneous impression that an employer or contractor only needs be made aware of an inspection should an infraction be issued. This is not the case. Most employers and contractors will want to be notified as soon as possible even if you pass with flying colors. In the case of a citation, even though it may not affect you unless citations accumulate, companies must account for all of the citations they receive over a particular period and so it matters very much to them.
Drivers Should Document Everything
If you have been in the business a while, then you have likely noticed how comprehensive and involved documenting CSA roadside inspections has gotten. You should follow suit. Maintain a book in which you document all roadside inspections. Note everything the inspector says, and ask questions when the inspector comments. Use your smartphone to take pictures of everything as well. All of this information will be invaluable later should you need to contest some aspect of the inspection.
Regularly Passing Inspections Is a Matter of Being Inspection-Ready
There is no great secret to passing inspections. Those who receive citations and infractions often do because they took chances. Don’t take chances. Be familiar with the CVSA manual. Perform thorough pre-trip inspections. Clean your windshield, which is a simple oversight that often gets drivers targeted. Adhere to all hours of service rules. Stay ELD compliant. Obey all traffic rules at all times. Be aware of the incentives available for successful roadside inspections and strive for them.
Professional drivers should embrace the FMCSA mission. It is not an adversarial relationship. The FMCSA is working hard to protect not just the other people on the road but the drivers too. Consider recent efforts to reduce the unnecessary and unsafe detention drivers often experience at their various stops.