By Steve Binkley,
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration utilizes federal grant money to certify and financially support state commercial vehicle enforcement programs. States perform level I, II, and III inspections to check motor carriers and passenger coaches for compliance with federal motor carrier safety regulations. Many times, inspections can be time consuming, taking an hour or more to complete the inspection process.
Now FMCSA is proposing a wireless inspection (Level VIII). The purpose of the level VIII inspection is to apply new technologies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of roadside enforcement while also minimizing supply chain disruptions. There are only so many certified inspectors that conduct commercial vehicle inspections, and most inspections are conducted during the middle of a driver’s drive time. Many commodities are time sensitive from point of origin to destination. Time spent at inspections can be costly as trucks are required to keep their engine running waiting to be inspected and for certain inspection procedures.
The Level VIII inspection potentially has multiple benefits such as increasing the number of CMV inspections, allows officers to make better decisions regarding who to inspect based on real time data, fewer disruptions in the supply chain and saves time for the driver.
Information expected to be required for the Level VIII inspection is:
- Location, date, and time
- Electronic verification of the driver
- Driver’s license information and status
- Medical certificate information
- Record of duty status information
- Unified carrier information
- If there are any out of service orders regarding the carrier
The above data is transmitted to the officers or inspection station who examine the information and make the decision to further inspect or allow the CMV to continue and receive credit for the Level VIII inspection. It will be interesting to see the results of the Level VIII inspection program and the impact it has on the FMCSA inspection program and the trucking industry. There are still important questions regarding cost and what ifs, and it is important that all parties stay engaged, provide comments, and ask questions so that this new inspection program is fair and provides potential benefits for everyone one involved.