How to Be Prepared for Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Inspections and Avoid Fines

By Kassidi Koronkowski on November 30, 2018
Tags: Productivity


Ensure your Commercial Trucks are Safe and Compliant 

Operating and managing commercial vehicles requires consistent maintenance check-ups for the safety of the driver and others on the road. Since businesses are becoming more focused on delivering goods directly to consumers, commercial drivers are logging more miles and are therefore more likely to experience an inspection check. The failure of an inspection can put a vehicle or a driver out of commission, hurting your business’s ability to operate. Being prepared for CMV inspections is essential for any business with commercial vehicles to operate efficiently.

What is a CMV Inspection?

Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) inspections are safety inspections for commercial vehicles administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an entity within the U.S. Department of Transportation. There are four main types of CMV inspections: daily driver inspections, periodic/annual inspections, roadside inspections, and on-site compliance reviews. Each of these inspections target different areas that could create hazards for your employees or for third parties, but the target among each test is the same: ensuring safety. The inspections range from the precision with which a driver has filled out a pre- or post-trip assessment or the safety standards for loading and unloading, to the operating standards of every system on the vehicle – from coupling devices to windshield wipers.

What Happens in the Event of a Violation?

In the event that your vehicle is in violation of any of the CMV standards, a three-step process is applied:

First, if there are actionable violations, such as operating the vehicle without a valid license or a headlight out, the carrier will receive a citation. The fine will depend on the jurisdiction of the law enforcement making the stop.

Second, if the vehicle is deemed to be unsafe to continue, it will be placed Out-of-Service, meaning it cannot continue to be operated until the items have been corrected.

Third, the data collected from the inspection will be input into the Safety Measurement System (SMS). All violations are recorded in the SMS and a company will be given a score based on the number and type of its violations.

If a company’s SMS score exceeds any of the predetermined thresholds in any category, the company will be subject to a variety of penalties, including targeted inspections, company investigations, civil penalties, and even an order to cease operations.

How to Prevent CMV Violations

One of the best ways to prevent CMV violations and the resulting penalties is to review drivers' logs and inspections and immediately address any concerns that are uncovered. For most companies that operate commercial motor vehicles, this can be difficult, however. Due to the nature of the business, it can be tough to quickly aggregate and analyze driver’s logs and inspection reports, and subsequently remedy problems, before a violation is committed. This problem only becomes more exaggerated the bigger a company is and the farther its services reach.

Companies that use commercial motor vehicles need the tools in place to ensure that their drivers are able to quickly and efficiently log concerns and problems so they can be quickly addressed. If a company expects to keep up with the demands of its business, the only way it is going to achieve this goal is through the use of an effectively customized mobile form software. Mobile form software allows drivers to log problems with their vehicles and make the reports immediately available to every branch of your company that needs that information to solve the problem.

Faster and more effective digital analysis makes it easier to detect patterns and problems in your machinery, and coordination among teams who can simultaneously access the same reports makes for a much safer, and more efficient operation. The benefits that come from being able to immediately communicate, aggregate, and analyze inspection reports is essential, not only for preventing CMV violations but also for providing a safe working environment for your drivers.

Now you can easily modernize the way you are conducting inspections. Whether you are looking to improve your data handling processes or improve the safety of your field operations, we hope you consider using GoCanvas as your data collection tool. Sign up for GoCanvas free and give our platform a try today!

Interested in learning more? Check out our ebook on 4 Ways Mobile Inspection Forms Can Keep Your Trucks on the Road

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