The sheer volume of commercial transportation and the associated use of public infrastructure make regular truck inspections a fact of life for truck drivers and trucking fleets.  Commercial vehicle inspections play an important role in keeping the motoring public (including other truck drivers) safe. These vehicle inspections must be performed by certified Level I, Level IV or Level VI inspectors, meaning that they have passed Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) approved training programs.

Pop – Up or Mobile Inspections

Because of the volume of commercial vehicles and the different routes that are driven, it is an outright impossibility for commercial vehicle enforcement to inspect all the trucks on the road, especially when limited by the location of a traditional inspection station.

A solution to this problem, for many transportation authority organizations, is the use of mobile or “pop-up” inspection sites. In its most basic implementation, this is an inspection site temporarily set up at a location where there is no existing station house or static scale. This tactic allows the inspectors to pull in vehicles that may not travel on routes where the fixed stations are located or trucks that may actively avoid these areas.

With advancements in multiple technologies, it is now more common than ever for inspectors to perform these ‘pop-up’ inspections through the use of mobile inspection units which allow for rapid, thorough inspections, at virtually any location. To better understand how mobile inspection sites collect and process information, we take a closer look at the technologies used by the DOT and law enforcement to complete inspections.

Mobile Inspection Van On the Highway

Example of a mobile inspection van

There are various ways an officer can get inspection technologies to the temporary location, ranging from trailers to customized vans. These vehicles are typically outfitted with license plate readers, USDOT Number readers, hazmat placard readers, overview cameras, or thermal inspection units. And are typically used to house the following tools that are used to collect and process the information in a timely and efficient manner.

Automatic License Plate Recognition – This tool reads license plates at highway speeds, and allows for rapid identification of vehicles as they approach or are pulled into a mobile site for inspection. The information is processed through a database that allows the officer to access and analyze records before they talk to the driver of the vehicle.

Automated USDOT Number Reader – Another tool that is used to collect and process information in real time, even before the vehicle has arrived at the inspection site. In this case, the camera is reading the USDOT number on a vehicle at highway speeds.

Overview Camera – Provides an image of the vehicle to match it with the information accessed through the license plate and USDOT Number.

Hazmat Placard Identification System –This system is used to read the hazmat placards that are displayed on vehicles as they travel on the roadway.

Thermal Inspection Camera – This technology allows the officer to identify malfunctioning running gear on the vehicle. The camera analyzes heat based images that can indicate non-operational brakes, dragging brakes, or overheated tires.

Thermal image of truck tires for mobile inspection

Thermal image of truck tires

To drivers or fleets, a mobile inspection may seem like just another opportunity to generate ticket revenue, but these sites play a crucial role in keeping public roadways safe for all.

Drivewyze weigh station bypass can help alleviate some of the associated annoyance that may go along with these types of inspections. The Drivewyze PreClear App Is the only weigh station bypass program to provide bypasses at mobile inspection sites. Similar to fixed sites, the app will notify the driver two-miles ahead of an approaching station. When the driver is 1-mile away from the station, the Drivewyze Preclear system will notify the driver if they are eligible to bypass the mobile inspection site or weigh station allowing them to save time and money by staying on the road.

Drivewyze Inc. is the leader in connected truck services and is on a mission to revolutionize the delivery of highway safety and transportation management through world-class products, systems, and services. Drivewyze serves commercial drivers and fleets with innovative trucking services such as the Drivewyze PreClear bypass service, and the Drivewyze Analytics Weigh Station Loss Reporting service. Drivewyze was recognized by Frost & Sullivan with the North American Weigh Station Bypass Company of the Year Award for 2017, for its best practices and industry leadership.

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