Roadside inspections inform a motor carrier of exactly where adjustments to its safety program must be made. If a motor carrier has been playing by the rules all along, these adjustments may not be drastic, but they must be made nonetheless.
A major step that a motor carrier can take in the way of preparation is to record and track its roadside inspections. There are two major reasons for doing this.
Spot the trends
First, tracking allows the carrier to see developing trends in violations. For example, if electronic logging violations turn up in more than a few roadside inspections, the carrier should recognize that this area needs to be addressed with the drivers.
A review for drivers could be as simple as:
- education or training on the proper hours-of-service limits, exceptions, and annotations,
- certifying their logs each 24 hours and submitting their logs no later than 13 days,
- knowing how to operate their ELD/AOBRD and how to transfer ELD data or display logs on AOBRDs.
Of course, it would be prudent for any motor carrier to ensure that their drivers are trained properly in these matters before the FMCSA officially assesses fines for these violations.
Create a record
Second, tracking roadside inspection reports provides a database that can be compared to the data the FMCSA has on file. It is not unusual for roadside inspection reports to contain transposed or inaccurate driver’s license numbers or vehicle numbers. Accurate driver information becomes very important as this not only affects the wrong driver’s score, but it will also have some bearing on the carrier’s BASIC measure.
Another potential hazard to be aware of is a transposed USDOT number recorded at a roadside inspection. This would certainly have a negative effect on your company and could trigger an unwarranted intervention by the FMCSA.
Don’t ignore your early warning system
Motor carriers can use the CSA program to confirm and document what their safety management program has been doing well, along with those areas needing improvement. By using roadside tracking tools as an early warning system, they can correct what may go wrong before the FMCSA addresses it.