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What is a targeted roadside inspection?

A targeted roadside inspection takes place when the Safety Management System (SMS) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) triggers results that indicate a driver has recently received a violation. Targeted roadside inspections occur at temporary and permanent locations for these events. The purpose of a roadside inspection for a driver with recent SMS results is to ensure that he or she has taken corrective action on the first violation and has not committed violations that would result in a second citation from the FMCSA.

Targeted roadside inspections part of CSA interventions.

Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) is another FMCSA safety program that helps to ensure that drivers are staying in compliance as well as taking accountability for their own safety on the road. To achieve this goal, CSA administers three levels of intervention. These include early contact, investigation, and follow-on. The targeted roadside inspection is part of CSA’s early contact initiative. CSA strives to meet the following four goals:

  • Study the reasons that safety violations occur in the first place
  • Recommend corrective remedies for known safety issues
  • Encourage corrective action by the driver and motor carrier
  • Enforce strong penalties against drivers and motor carriers when necessary for failure to comply with safety regulations or improve once informed of specific issues

The first point of contact that CSA has with drivers who have received a recent violation is the warning letter.

Early Contact: Warning letter and targeted roadside inspection.

Once CSA receives notification of a driver violation, it prepares and sends a warning letter informing the driver of his or her specific compliance issues and safety problems. It also includes the consequences of failing to improve performance. The next step is then the targeted roadside inspection to ensure compliance. The results of the inspection then become part of an investigation if one becomes necessary.

Next steps.

At this stage, safety inspectors will conduct one of three types of investigations. These include an offsite investigation, onsite focused investigation, or an onsite comprehensive investigation. The last is the most severe as it requires a review of the entire organization, multiple vehicle inspections, and interviews with employees.

The final stage, follow-on, requires the CSA to issue one of four actions:

  • Cooperative Safety Plan: This is a voluntary plan undertaken by motor carriers to improve performance. The CSA may issue it alone or at the same time as a Notice of Violation. It cannot be used in place of a notice of claim.
  • Notice of Violation: A notice indicating that a carrier has committed a severe violation though not yet to the level of civil penalty. The carrier must provide evidence of specific corrective actions or dispute the notice to prevent receiving a Notice of Claim.
  • Notice of Claim: A notice indicating that the violation meets the requirements for further assessments and significant consequences at the civil level.
  • Operation Out of Service Order: The carrier must cease the operation of its entire fleet upon receipt of the letter.

Make sure you have the proper insurance coverage.

While remaining in compliance with CSA can seem challenging, don’t forget that the FMCSA expects drivers to carry the proper insurance as well. You have to make sure that you’re meeting insurance requirements. Our transportation insurance experts can help with that – all you have to do is fill out our online quote form, give us a call, or message us on LiveChat.