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Roadside Inspection

Mark Knaul, a motor carrier investigator for the New York State Department of Transportation (in orange), and Adam Silverstein, a supervising motor carrier investigator (in denim shirt), performed a mock roadside safety inspection for attendees of the ESEA/UNYEA Convention, Aug. 28-29 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (For more on ESEA/UNYEA, see, “ESEA Launches ‘Upgrade Your Lifestyle’ Program,” page 4 of the October 2017 issue of Fuel Oil News.)

“We conduct roadside inspections just like a state trooper in the state of New York,” Knaul told Fuel Oil News in a telephone interview. Any vehicle defined as a commercial motor vehicle—anything with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or greater, used in commerce—is subject to roadside inspection. “Sometimes that could be a pickup truck with a trailer attached,” Knaul noted—if its weight qualifies it.

“There were a couple of main points I wanted to get across,” Knaul said of the demo. The inspection is known as a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspection. “It’s a standard inspection across the country. Whether it’s done in New York State or Connecticut or in Virginia it should be the same,” Knaul said. The Alliance is a nonprofit association of local, state, provincial, territorial, and federal commercial motor vehicle safety officials and industry representatives, headquartered in Greenbelt, Md. Its mission is to improve commercial motor vehicle safety and uniformity throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico by providing guidance and education to enforcement, industry and policy makers.

In a “Level One” inspection, the inspector looks at a driver’s license and log book, as part of ascertaining whether the driver is fit, capable of driving at that moment, Knaul says. This includes checking to see whether the driver is within the Hours of Service regulations, whether he has the proper license, and whether the driver is medically qualified. The inspector also reviews the information in the database tied to the DOT number that is displayed on the side of the vehicle, Knaul says, to confirm whether the DOT number is active, to see the record of past roadside inspections and what occurred in those inspections.

“I was doing a mock Level One inspection,” Knaul says of the demonstration for the ESEA attendees. “Level One is what we call a full inspection. It includes the truck, driver, and the inspector goes under the vehicle.”

For a Level Two, the inspector does a walkaround with the driver, checking various items. Knaul says he makes a point of touching numerous parts and features of the truck during the walkaround, including feeling the lug nuts to check whether they are tight. A Level Three is limited to a check of the driver’s credentials. A Level One inspection, Knaul says, “basically mashes them all together.”—Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett is the editor of Fuel Oil News.

Photo courtesy of ESEA.

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