Types of Inspections by the CVSA

Photo of a truck

Inspections are a part of every carrier’s journey. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new MC or if you’ve been a carrier for 20 years, one thing that never changes is the numerous inspections you go through as part of your profession.  

In this blog we will discuss the different levels of inspections conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). The CVSA is an association whose objective is to improve the conditions and safety standards followed by commercial motor vehicles across the United States, Canada and Mexico. They focus on developing educational resources, offering guidance, and enforcing safety standards.  

A significant function of the CVSA is conducting inspections on large trucks and other commercial motor vehicles. They train and prepare inspectors in each state and territory to conduct these inspections following the North American Standard Inspection Program.  

What is The North American Standard Inspection Program?  

This guide developed by the CVSA consists of eight levels of inspections that cover from general, overall inspections to very specific ones that focus on a particular area of the vehicle or driver. For example, Level VI inspections focus on radioactive materials, whereas Level I inspections look at both driver and truck conditions.  

There are certain types of inspections that, if passed, the truck can get a CVSA Decal, which can exempt it from going through a re-inspection in the next three months following the application of the CVSA Decal. However, if there is an evident flaw in the vehicle, it might be subject to re-inspection.  

To get a CVSA Decal carriers have to pass a Level I, Level V, or Level VI inspections. However, it’s important to note that the CVSA Decal is based solely on the truck’s condition, not the driver.  

 Levels of Inspection by CVSA  

Level I – North American Standard Inspection: This first level of inspection examines certain driver records as well as the basic conditions of the vehicle. 

Level II – Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection: The second level also examines driver records, certificates, licenses and the conditions of the truck. However, Level II inspections will evaluate the items that can be assessed without physically getting under the truck.  

Level III – Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection: This inspection will focus on the driver’s certificates, licenses, SPE, RODS, HOS, among other driver-related documentation that must be in the vehicle at all times. During this inspection, other items related to the state of the truck or vehicle should not be examined.  

Level IV – Special Inspections: It’s a one-time inspection of a specific part.  

Level V – Vehicle-Only Inspection: For this inspection, the driver doesn’t need to be present since it will be an examination of the vehicle’s condition and all the truck-related aspects detailed in the Level I inspection.  

Level VI – North American Standard Inspection for Transuranic Waste and Highway Route Controlled Quantities (HRCQ) of Radioactive Material: This level is focused specifically in drivers and vehicles transporting certain kinds of radiological and radioactive materials.  

Level VII – Jurisdictional Mandated Commercial Vehicle Inspection: this includes inspections of vehicles that don’t meet the requirements of other levels of inspections like school buses, taxis, hotel shuttles, and many more. These inspections are mandated by each jurisdiction.  

Level VIII – North American Standard Electronic Inspection: This inspection is done electronically. During this evaluation the driver doesn’t need to talk or engage with an officer, the only requirement is that there is a data exchange with all the requirements specified for the electronic inspection.  

It’s clear that there are very different inspections that you might go through on your carrier journey. It’s even more clear the importance of staying compliant with all safety regulations and mandates in order to ensure that you will pass any inspection that comes your way. After covering the basics of the CVSA inspections, we want to remind you of our DOT Safety Compliance programs, where our Service Agents will ensure you have everything you need for these and all inspections.