E-Inspections Are Finally Here with Three States Leading the Way
July 13, 2021
Granted, e-Inspections aren’t up and running in every state. Yet. But we’re confident the tide has turned and e-Inspections are riding the wave to adoption. And, that will save Drivewyze customers time and money by streamlining the weigh station inspection process through the electronic transmission of HOS logs and other data from ELDs.
Right now, if you go through select sites in Maine, Maryland, or Virginia and have Drivewyze e-Inspection activated on your ELD (hint, if you haven’t been notified of this option by your ELD partner, ask them when they will support it), you’ll find inspections are a breeze.
As a Drivewyze customer, you already know the benefit of weigh station bypass. Your good- to-great safety score allows you to bypass weigh stations at a rate up to 98% of the time. But, there are times when your trucks will not get the bypass and you’ll be waved in for an inspection. And, that’s where a conundrum can take place. Typically, there are about 3.5 million inspections conducted each year – last year, only 2.7 million were conducted due to COVID-19. That may seem like a lot, but it’s not. A very high percentage of the carrier population has insufficient data to compile complete BASIC percentiles. What’s more, the majority of carriers lack sufficient data to be assessed in even one BASIC.
The reason is a combination of the lack of enforcement officers (13,000 inspection officers as opposed to 6 million trucks that go through weigh stations), and manual paperwork that takes time to complete. That’s why a truck called in for an inspection is often waved on through due to a backlog of trucks waiting to be processed, or a short-staffed inspection site. Sometimes fleets want an inspection to help their safety scores, and even if they ask, they can’t get one.
If they do get the full inspection, it can be time consuming for both the commercial driver and the inspection officer due to all the manual data entry. If the driver, for example, mistypes the officer’s inspector code, and the logs can’t be transferred, it’s an HOS violation. Likewise, if a driver isn’t familiar with the ELD and doesn’t know how to transfer logs, or locate the Driver Instruction Sheet, the carrier can be dinged on their safety score. This is something that Drivewyze has worked hard to solve through automated data transfer. This fixes three problems. It saves significant time – cutting a ‘clean’ Level III inspection from around 30 minutes down to minutes; it eliminates data entry errors by both the driver and inspection officer; and it’s good for the environment – trucks don’t have to idle as much waiting for the inspection to finish.
And, since this speeds the process, the inspection officer can do more inspections, allowing safe fleets to bolster their scores, and unsafe fleets to have a bit more scrutiny via more thorough inspections. What’s more, additional inspection data will also reduce the lag time in today’s CSA safety scores that do not always represent a carrier’s existing safety investments and practices. Today, any fleet that may have had a bad incident and had their safety score negatively impacted may suffer from poor representative scores long after incidents occur, regardless of changes in safety practices. More inspections would increase data sufficiency in CSA, reduce lag time in adjusting a safety score, validate, and reward a carrier’s current safety performance.
Here’s how it works: HOS logs and other information from the truck’s ELD is transmitted a couple miles prior to driving into the weigh station. This “pre-fills” the officer’s inspection report. Law enforcement doesn’t enter anything related to HOS, and neither does the driver.
It’s clear that front-line CVE agencies need a better method of conducting inspections. And, carriers need more available options to impact their CSA scores – especially when you consider freight volume across the U.S. is expected to grow by 36% by 2031.
This could be just the start. There could be a day where fully electronic Level VIII inspections, for example, could be conducted. A truck could drive by a weigh station with all the vehicle and driver information already having been received in advance by the inspection site. And, that data would be received and transmitted to FMCSA, and the carrier and agency would get credit for a ‘virtual’ inspection.
All told, there is change in the air when it comes to weigh station inspections. E-Inspections will allow our customers to be more efficient and drivers to keep rolling, making more money. And, most importantly, it will allow inspectors to focus their time on the trucks that truly do need inspecting. With e-Inspection, everyone wins.
See what Western Express has to say about e-Inspections in this article from CCJ magazine:
By Sara Steele
Drivewyze Product Manager & Director, Compliance