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Trucking Standard of Care Expert

FMCSA Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards 

by John Ross

 

  Transportation and Trucking Safety Expert Witness

 

FMCSR 396.17 Periodic Inspection

Every commercial vehicle, including each segment of a combination vehicle, requires a periodic inspection which must be performed at least once every 12 months. At a minimum, inspections must include all items in the Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards, ( aka Appendix G) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Motor carriers may perform required annual inspection themselves if they have a qualified inspector or they may hire a qualified inspector. The original or a copy of the periodic inspection report must be retained by the motor carrier for 14 months from the report date.

 

A motor carrier must not use a commercial motor vehicle, and must not tender equipment to a motor carrier for interchange, until each component identified in Appendix G has passed an inspection in accordance with the terms of this section at least once during the preceding 12 months and documentation of such inspection is on or in the vehicle.

 

In lieu of the self-inspection, a motor carrier responsible for the inspection may choose to have a commercial garage, fleet leasing company, truck stop, or other similar commercial business perform the inspection as its agent, provided that specific business operates and maintains facilities appropriate for commercial vehicle inspections and it employs qualified inspectors.

 

It is the responsibility of the motor carrier to ensure that all parts and accessories on commercial motor vehicles intended for use in interstate commerce for which they are responsible are maintained at, or promptly repaired to the minimum standards set forth in Appendix G. Failure to perform properly the annual inspection required shall cause the motor carrier to be subject to the penalty provisions of 49 U.S.C. 521(b). 

 

 

Inspector Qualifications

Inspectors Must Understand Part 393 and Appendix G- Motor carriers must ensure that persons performing annual inspections are qualified. Inspectors must understand the inspection standards of Part 393 and Appendix G and be able to identify defective components, and have knowledge and proficiency in methods, procedures, and tools.

 

Motor carriers must retain evidence of that individual's qualifications under this section. They must retain this evidence for the period during which that individual is performing annual motor vehicle inspections for the motor carrier, and for one year thereafter. However, motor carriers do not have to maintain documentation of inspector qualifications for those inspections performed as part of a State periodic inspection program. 

 

Brake Inspector Qualification- The motor carrier is responsible for ensuring that all inspections, maintenance, repairs, and service to brakes of commercial motor vehicles comply with these regulations. The carrier must ensure that the employees responsible for brake inspection, maintenance, service, or repairs meet minimum brake inspector qualifications.

 

Motor carriers must maintain evidence of brake inspector qualification at the principal place of business or the location where the inspector works. Evidence must be retained for the period during which the brake inspector is employed in that capacity, and for one year thereafter.

 

Equivalent to Periodic Inspection

If a commercial motor vehicle is subject to a mandatory State inspection program which is determined by the Administrator to be as effective, the motor carrier or provider must meet the requirement through that State's inspection program. Commercial motor vehicle inspections may be conducted by State personnel, at State authorized commercial facilities, or by the motor carrier provider itself under the auspices of a State authorized self-inspection program.

 

Section 396.23 in part reads: “(b)(1) If a commercial motor vehicle is subject to a mandatory State inspection program which is determined by the Administrator to be as effective as § 396.17, the motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider must meet the requirement of § 396.17 through that State's inspection program. Commercial motor vehicle inspections may be conducted by State personnel, at State authorized commercial facilities, or by the motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider itself under the auspices of a State authorized self-inspection program.

 

Vehicles passing periodic inspections performed under the auspices of any State government or equivalent jurisdiction, meeting the minimum standards contained in Appendix G, will be considered to have met the requirements of an annual inspection for a period of 12 months commencing from the last day of the month in which the inspection was performed.

 

13 Required Vehicle Components to be Inspected

  • Brake System   
  • Suspension
  • Coupling Devices
  • Frame
  • Exhaust System
  • Tires
  • Fuel System
  • Wheels and Rims
  • Lighting Devices
  • Windshield Glazing
  • Safe Loading
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Steering Mechanism

 

A vehicle will meet the Federal requirements if inspected under a state mandatory inspection program in states listed below: 

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • All Canadian Providences
  • NOM-68 decal for Mexico

 


Further detail can be found here.

 

By John Ross

 

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