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Fuel for Thought

Go Your Own Way

By Greg Huggins
Posted Dec 13th 2020 8:48AM

Trucks get inspected, most truck drivers know this, but how much do you really know about North American truck inspections? Did you know there are eight (8) different inspection levels? Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 are the most common, but there are others. Level 1, Level 5 and Level 6 inspections are the only ones which can result in the issuance of a CVSA decal placed on the vehicle (more on the decal later). For those who have seen inspections in parking lots of truck stops, see Level 5. Once an officer tells you which level of inspection you are about to receive, it can go much smoother if you know what to expect. 

If you are the recipient of a Level 1, Level 5 or Level 6 inspection, and you pass, you may receive a decal for your windshield. This decal has more meaning than you might think, from the large number to the color and even the shape.

Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac song)

Go (Green = 1st quarter of year)

Your (Yellow = 2nd Q)

Own (Orange = 3rd Q)

Way (White = 4th Q)

Corners:

2 top corners removed = 1st month of quarter

1 top corner removed = 2nd month of quarter

No corners removed = last month of quarter

The large number represents the last number of the year it was issued

Level 1 - North American Standard Inspection

An inspection that includes examination of driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable); alcohol and drugs; driver’s record of duty status, as required; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable); brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; driveline/driveshaft; exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads); steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims and hubs; windshield wipers.

Level 2 – Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection

As a minimum, Level II Inspections must include examination of: driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable); alcohol and drugs; driver’s record of duty status as required; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable); brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; driveline/driveshaft; exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads); steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels, rims and hubs; windshield wipers. It is contemplated that the walk-around driver/vehicle inspection will include only those items that can be inspected without physically getting under the vehicle.

Level 3 – Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection

As a minimum, Level III Inspections must include, where required and/or applicable: examination of the driver’s license; Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate; driver’s record of duty status; hours of service; seat belt; vehicle inspection report(s); and carrier identification and status.

Level 4 – Special Inspections

Inspections under this heading typically include a one-time examination of a particular item. These examinations are normally made in support of a study or to verify or refute a suspected trend.

Level 5 – Vehicle-Only Inspection

An inspection that includes each of the vehicle inspection items specified under the North American Standard Inspection (Level I), without a driver present, conducted at any location.

Level 6 – North American Standard Inspection for Transuranic Waste and Highway Route Controlled Quantities (HRCQ) of Radioactive Material

An inspection for select radiological shipments, which include inspection procedures, enhancements to the North American Standard Level I Inspection, radiological requirements and the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria for Transuranic Waste and Highway Route Controlled Quantities of Radioactive material.

As of Jan. 1, 2005, all vehicles and carriers transporting HRCQ of radioactive material are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and required to pass the North American Standard Level VI Inspection.

Level 7 – Jurisdictional Mandated Commercial Vehicle Inspection

An inspection that is a jurisdictional mandated inspection program that does not meet the requirements of any other level of inspection. An example will include inspection programs such as, but not limited to, school buses, limousines, taxis, shared-ride transportation, hotel courtesy shuttles and other intrastate/intra-provincial operations. These inspections may be conducted by CVSA-certified inspectors, other designated government employees or jurisdiction-approved contractors. Inspector training requirements shall be determined by each jurisdiction. No CVSA decal shall be issued for a Level VII Inspection but a jurisdiction-specific decal may be applied.

Level 8 – North American Standard Electronic Inspection

An electronic inspection must include, where required and/or applicable, a descriptive location, including GPS coordinates; electronic validation of who is operating the vehicle; appropriate driver’s license class and endorsement(s) for vehicle being operated; license status; valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate; current driver’s record of duty status; hours-of-service compliance; USDOT or (Canada) NSC number; power unit registration; operating authority; Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) compliance; and federal out-of-service orders.

The North American Standard Level VIII Electronic Inspection is an inspection conducted electronically or wirelessly while the vehicle is in motion without direct interaction with an enforcement officer. To be considered a complete Level VIII Electronic Inspection, a data exchange must include each of the required and/or applicable data points listed in the CVSA North American Standard Level VIII Electronic Inspection definition.


If you made it all the way through this list, and still want more info, visit the CVSA website.


See you down the road,

Greg