Checklist for FMCSA Compliance

3 Trucks, One Red, One Organge, One Yellow Lined Up Next to Eachother - FMSCA - Infinit-I Workforce Solutions

Where do your drivers miss the mark most? Do you have a checklist?

Actually, you do. It’s called the pre- and post-trip inspection checklist.

What drivers catch or miss in daily inspection directly impacts your business, to the tune of tens of thousands to millions of dollars a year, with big-budget items like fuel economy, lawsuits, and your reputation with shipping clients.

The FMCSA provides a worksheet to help trucking companies and contractors identify the most common truck and driver violations they see. It includes:

  • Parts and Accessories
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Driver Qualification
  • Driver Training
  • Driving Violations
  • Hours of Service
  • Controlled Substance and Alcohol

If you haven’t studied it, it may be worthwhile to take a look.

But here’s the rub:

Many items on the FMCSA common violations list also appear in pre- and post-trip inspections. These are the daily checklist items that still commonly result in fines and fees, citations, higher CSA scores, and more accidents and incidents.

You want to encourage honesty, integrity, and excellence in your fleet, so you need to avoid boxes getting ticked that aren’t ready to be ticked. A little tick box can make a big difference.

So, here’s where it might be good to focus:

The Pre-trip Items that Prevent Common Violations

1 – Brakes

Inspectors find a lot of problems with brake hoses that are chafing and kinking. They also note a good amount of reserve system pressure lost.

Finally, clamp and roto-chamber brakes need to stay regularly adjusted. Continue to train on these items that especially apply to your fleet.

2 – Leaks

The most common leaks found in inspections are oil and grease and the wheel seals on hubs. Are your drivers blowing off small leaks, or staying rigorous?

3 – Tires 

Tires need to be full, secure, and the correct kind for the vehicle. Apart from more general tire problems, inspectors commonly take issue with tread depth. The minimum tread depth for a steer tire is 4/32 of an inch on every major tread groove. Drive and trailer tires, minimum tread depth is 2/32 of an inch in every major groove.

4 – Warning Devices

Trucks are commonly cited for faulty, insufficient, or missing reflective triangles and fusees or flares. Refresh your memory and train your drivers. DOT requires the following, in good working order:

  • “Three bidirectional emergency reflective triangles that conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 125.”
  • “At least 6 fusees or 3 liquid-burning flares. Each fusee must be capable of burning for 30 minutes, and each liquid-burning flare must contain enough fuel to burn continuously for at least 60 minutes.”

5 – Turn signals

A missed inspection or repair on clear, working signals could mean the difference between safety and injury or death for a motorist. The viability of drivers’ careers is also at risk, as well as the financial viability of your company. This is the perfect example of a crucial safety item that can fall by the wayside through familiarity. Help drivers keep it top-of-mind and don’t forget to reward good inspection scores!

6 – Fire extinguishers

There are several possible violations for fire extinguishers including an extinguisher that’s missing, discharged, or simply unsecured. Keep your ear to the ground for the need to replace extinguishers and other accessories and update the hardware that secures them.

7 – Lights

All trucks must have the correct number and kind of lights required for that truck, with acceptable brightness and clarity. Turn signals (to drive the point home) and reflective devices are two of the most common violations here.

8 – Inspections and Reporting

A daily Vehicle Inspection Report is required, and each one needs to be ready to turn in if there’s an issue in the post-trip inspection. Two common violations include operating a CMV without periodic inspection and failure to correct defects found on an inspection report.

Your collaboration with drivers is essential here. Get feedback from them about how reporting is going, and whether they feel the communication flow is clear between them and the company, especially when they have a request, or the truck has an issue. Meet drivers more than halfway to help them succeed in reporting and inspections.

Finally, consider running a training program that highlights the items above at regular intervals (such as semi-annually). Your drivers may be the best in the business, but these violations are still common enough that there is always room to grow.

Coming Up in Compliance

Finally, here are a couple of items you may want to keep in mind that are new on the table in the FMCSA. As DOT tries to better enforce regulations, your preparedness will affect your success.

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Drivers still fail inspection all too commonly due to alcohol and controlled substance violations. But if drivers fail or refuse a drug test, this is not always properly documented, and you’re not always warned. The FMCSA is launching a Clearinghouse to document these cases properly. It will more effectively identify drivers who have violated drug and alcohol laws, so you don’t waste your time hiring unsuitable or illegal drivers.

CDL Guidelines

FMCSA has released a new set of guidelines for a person to get their CDL. This includes some new restrictions and some additional training requirements for first-time CDL trainees. For one example, the FMCSA is taking some new measures to prevent human trafficking. For another, training must now be done through a registered training facility. See the website for full information.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions empowers you to train to 100% of your drivers on inspections, road safety, and more. Our program easily expands to cover staff training and maintenance safety, too. Sign up for a demo today.