FleetOwner Magazine Dispels a Few Myths about Roadside Inspections

If you’ve ever watched Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel, you know Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage like nothing better than to disprove commonly-held beliefs and old wives tales. Well, an article written by Larry Kahaner that appeared in the May 2015 issue of FleetOwner magazine reminded us of that show. BarOle Trucking safety manager Karol Smith told us about the article when we spoke with her a couple of weeks ago for last week’s blog entry on driver etiquette.


Like the guys on Mythbusters, Kahaner dispelled a few myths and misperceptions about commercial vehicle enforcement officers and roadside inspections. The FleetOwner writer interviewed a former DOT-certified commercial vehicle enforcement officer who offered some advice to drivers and managers about roadside inspections.

“Commercial vehicle enforcement officers don’t have a citation quota to fill – but they do have a set number of inspections they must complete in order to maintain their credentials.”

Karol tells us she shares the article with all of her drivers because it dispels several mistaken beliefs drivers can have about commercial vehicle enforcement officers and their roadside inspections. Perhaps one of the more surprising things to know – commercial vehicle enforcement officers don’t have a citation quota to fill contrary to popular belief. But they do have a set number of inspections they must complete in order to maintain their credentials. So, even if your truck may look good and your paperwork appears in order, you may still be called in for a Level I inspection.

Here four other things you may not know or realize about commercial vehicle inspectors and what prompts them to conduct their roadside inspections:

  1. It pays to keep a tidy cab – keeping your truck relatively clean and orderly could mean fewer Level I inspections.
  2. By keeping your documents – medical card, registration, insurance and paperwork together in a three-ring binder or portfolio, you can make it easier for officers to send you on your way.
  3. Officers have complete discretion on whom to choose for an inspection. And showing a poor attitude to officers could be the quickest way to get you and your truck inspected.
  4. Because officers have discretion on whom to cite for violations, be truthful and honest. If you’ve found something wrong in your pre-trip inspection, don’t lie when asked if there’s anything you know is wrong from your pre-trip inspections. Say yes. If you say no and the officer finds something wrong that you should have caught, or asks you where your extinguisher and triangles are and you don’t know, you will likely get cited – as well as your company.


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