The 2022 CVSA International Roadchecks are just two months away, May 17 – 19, and this year the focus is on wheel ends, a common cause of out-of-service violations. In fact, historically, wheel ends and related components have been in the top ten for problems that force drivers and vehicles off the road and into costly repairs. 

But what exactly are CVSA inspections, and how can fleet managers make sure both their drivers and vehicles are ready? 

What is the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)?  

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is a nonprofit organization made up of commercial motor vehicle safety officials and industry representatives from the local, state, provincial, and territorial levels. It aims to improve commercial vehicle safety in the US, Canada, and Mexico by providing guidance and education to vehicle inspectors, businesses, and policymakers. From the beginning, the organization has tried to improve safety by creating uniformity across locations and agencies, helping the industry and its regulators share best practices while also removing redundancies.  

A big part of the CVSA is the annual CVSA Roadcheck, which sees roadside vehicle safety inspections take place throughout North America. Every year, the CVSA highlights a different aspect of vehicle safety. In 2021, the CVSA Roadcheck looked specifically at lighting and hours of service violations, with fines, penalties, and drivers being placed out of service for non-compliance.  

And in 2022, the CVSA Roadcheck includes 72 hours of high-volume commercial vehicle inspections at weigh stations and temporary inspection sites. The tradition is to shift the focus annually, and this year inspectors are looking closely at wheel ends. 

What are the levels for the CVSA Roadcheck? 

While the emphasis this year is on the wheel ends of your commercial vehicles, your vehicles are also likely to receive the North America Standard Level I Inspection during the Roadcheck.  

There are eight levels of CVSA inspections, but Level I, Level V, and Level VI are the only inspections that can lead to a CVSA decal. Other inspection levels focus on more specific areas. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the different inspections. 

Level I – North American Standard Inspections 

This is the most comprehensive CVSA inspection and includes an examination of your drivers and vehicles. It typically takes 45-60 minutes and looks at everything from brakes, exhaust, and fuel systems to cargo securement, coupling devices, and all aspects of driver compliance.  

Level II – Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspections 

Here, the inspector checks everything they can without physically getting under your vehicle. However, if the inspector finds anything wrong with your vehicle during the walk-around, they can easily escalate to a Level I Inspection.  

Level III – Driver/Credential Inspections   

This is an examination of your driver’s documents, including their commercial driver’s license, medical certificate, logbook and hours of service, and documentation of annual vehicle inspection. The inspector may also check for the presence of hazardous materials. 

Level IV – Special Inspections 

Level IV Inspections usually take place in response to suspected trends in the industry and focus on a specific item. The time it takes to complete the inspection differs according to what the inspectors are hoping to find. 

Level V – Vehicle-Only Inspections 

This is the same level of vehicle examination as a Level I Inspection, but it does not focus on the driver. The inspection can take place without a driver present, is usually conducted on your business premises, and takes around 30 minutes.  

Level VI – Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments 

Following a higher inspection standard than the Level I Inspection, this examination is only for vehicles carrying Class 7 radioactive material, and it can take up to 60 minutes. 

Level VII – Jurisdictional Mandated Commercial Vehicle Inspection 

This type of inspection is for mandated inspection programs that do not meet any other level of inspection. It can include vehicles such as taxis, school buses, limousines, and hotel shuttles.    

Level VIII – North American Standard Electronic Inspection 

There’s no direct interaction with an enforcement officer for the Level VIII Inspection; instead, it all happens electronically or wirelessly while the vehicle is in motion. Software shares real-time safety data, and the driver doesn’t even have to stop.  

Why is the CVSA important for your fleet?  

As a fleet manager, you should understand the ins and outs of inspections and share that information to your drivers. Keeping your vehicles and your drivers safe should always be a priority, but it’s also important that you are prepared for the CVSA inspections as they’re bound to happen to your fleet. 

If your vehicles or drivers fail an inspection, you may get away with a warning or face a small fine. However, if the inspector identifies a critical failure, your vehicle or driver could be forced out of service. Needless to say, that could have a big impact on the efficiency of your operation, the reputation of your fleet, and your bottom line.   

What is the CVSA decal? 

The CVSA inspection sticker, known as a decal, is a colored sticker a certified CVSA inspector awards. You can put it on the windshield of any vehicle that passes a Level I or Level V roadside inspection. The decals include the year of the inspection while the quarter is indicated by its color. Decals are only valid for three months, which is why the color of the sticker is an important feature. 

How can you prepare for the CVSA Roadcheck? 

As a fleet manager, the good thing about the CVSA Roadcheck is that you usually have an idea when it’s going to take place, allowing for time to prepare. You also already know what inspectors are checking.   

Here are a few quick tips to help you get your vehicles and drivers ready. 

  • Practice proactive vehicle maintenance to spot any issues before the inspectors. 
  • Have paperwork and documentation such as the driver’s operating credentials ready.  
  • Read the CVSA’s Cheat Sheet. 
  • Give drivers extra time to account for any delays caused by inspections. 
  • Make sure your drivers understand the importance of responding professionally and with a good attitude. 

Generally, the better you are at staying on top of maintenance, the more prepared you are for the inspections. So, complete your own pre-trip and post-trip inspections daily to find and resolve any issues immediately. 

How can ManagerPlus EAM software help? 

Robust enterprise asset management (EAM) software like ManagerPlus® is the best route to improving your fleet processes and ensuring compliance. It allows you to track every aspect of your fleet’s maintenance, from providing service technicians with step-by-step instructions to calculating the total cost of ownership. 

Whether it’s CVSA Roadcheck season or not, routine maintenance is vital to keeping your vehicles on the road. ManagerPlus helps you create custom work order templates and then automatically schedule your routine tasks and inspections, so your team never misses critical preventive maintenance. 

You can also use ManagerPlus to store DVIRs and other maintenance inspection reports, so you can always prove compliance when it’s time for an audit.  

What’s next? 

Want to find out how ManagerPlus EAM can help you improve your fleet process and maintain FMCSA compliance? Book a live demo with one of our experts or get in touch so we can answer your questions. 

Executive summary 

The CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) is a nonprofit organization set up to improve vehicle safety in the US, Canada, and Mexico. A big part of that is the CVSA Roadcheck, which involves high-volume commercial vehicle inspections at weigh stations and temporary inspection sites across North America. 

There are eight different levels of inspection, with most of your vehicles likely to undergo a Level I Inspection. If you pass the inspection, you receive a CVSA decal, which is valid for three months and prevents your vehicle from being inspected again during that time.  

There are a few simple steps that you can take to prepare for the CVSA Roadcheck, including adopting preventive maintenance practices and reading the CVSA’s Cheat Sheet. You can also try fleet management software like ManagerPlus, which helps you track every aspect of your fleet maintenance to keep your vehicles on the road. 

About the author

Nathan Jeans

Nathan is a long-serving freelance copywriter with a specialism in B2B software. When he's not busy writing transformative content, he likes to spend his time trying to get some sleep.
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