DOT & ELD Guidance Blog

Preparing for CVSA Roadcheck 2021

Roadcheck 2021 focuses on hours of service and vehicle lighting. Learn a simple, seven-step process for conducting pre-trip inspections.

J.J. Keller Editor Kathy Close

Kathy Close - Transportation Safety Editor - J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

April 09 , 2021

This year's CVSA Roadcheck event is scheduled for May 4 – 6 and focuses on hours of service and vehicle lighting. To support drivers and carriers, J. J. Keller has created two new resources: DOT Roadside Inspections: A Guide to the Driver Inspection Process, and Complete Checklist for Roadside Inspections.

One of the easiest ways to prepare for a roadside inspection that is often overlooked, yet what drivers should be doing every single day, is a pre-trip inspection. Drivers are prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle unless they are satisfied that specific vehicle parts and accessories are in good working order. But regulations do not require documentations of the pre-trip vehicle inspection.  

Vehicle inspections are not just the responsibility of your fleet maintenance shop or even a handful of your drivers. All drivers should know how to perform a thorough pre-trip inspection. The trick is making sure all of your drivers are doing them in the same way, every time. By creating standardized inspection procedures, your drivers are less likely to forget an important vehicle component.

A Simple Seven-Step Process

One of the best vehicle inspection processes, and one that is proven, is the seven-step method. It's not complicated, but it is effective.

  1. Vehicle Overview. Check the vehicle's general condition.
  2. Engine compartment. Systematically check the engine oil level, coolant level, automatic transmission fluid (if applicable), hoses, belts, wires, battery, and other electrical connections.
  3. Inside the Cab. Check all gauges and controls to make sure they are working correctly and reporting normal conditions.
  4. Lights. Inspect the low and high beam headlights and four-way flashers.
  5. Walk-around Inspection. Examine the entire vehicle's exterior by systematically starting at the vehicle's front left side and continuing to front, right side, rear, left rear, left side, and coupling system.
  6. Signal Lights. Ensure all signal lights and stop lights should be in working order.
  7. Final Brake System Check. Inspect all brakes from the parking brake to service brakes to ensure they're working properly.

Performing daily pre-trip vehicle inspections will help your drivers identify defects before going out on the road. Ten minutes spent executing these seven elements can save you hours of productivity and reduce the risk of unnecessary downtime or violations.

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