Roadside DOT Inspection Levels

The purpose of a roadside inspection on individual commercial motor vehicles and drivers is to determine if they are in compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and/or Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs).

In the event of serious violations, the inspection may result in the issuance of driver or vehicle OOS orders. These violations must be corrected before the affected driver or vehicle can return to service. Traffic enforcement violations may also be recorded in conjunction with a roadside inspection.

Levels of Inspections

Level I – North American Standard Inspection

An inspection that includes examination of:

  1. Driver’s license
  2. Medical Examiner’s Certificate
  3. Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable)
  4. Alcohol and drugs
  5. Driver’s record of duty status, as required (IE: hours of service)
  6. Seat belts
  7. Vehicle inspection report(s)
  8. Brake systems
  9. Cargo securement devices
  10. Coupling devices
  11. Driveline/driveshaft
  12. Exhaust systems
  13. Frames
  14. Fuel systems
  15. Lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads)
  16. Steering mechanisms
  17. Suspensions
  18. Tires
  19. Van and open-top trailer bodies
  20. Wheels
  21. Rims and hubs
  22. Windshield wipers

Buses, motor-coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles

  1. Emergency exits
  2. Electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments,
  3. Seating,
  4. HM/DG and specification cargo tank requirements, as applicable.
  5. HM/DG required inspection items will only be inspected by certified HM/DG and cargo tank inspectors, as applicable.

Level II – Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection

As a minimum, Level II Inspections must include examination of:

  1. Driver’s license
  2. Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable)
  3. Alcohol and drugs
  4. Driver’s record of duty status as required (IE: hours of service)
  5. Seat belt
  6. Vehicle inspection report(s) (if applicable)
  7. Brake systems
  8. Cargo securement devices
  9. Coupling devices
  10. Driveline/driveshaft
  11. Exhaust systems
  12. Frames
  13. Fuel systems
  14. Lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/flags on projecting loads)
  15. Steering mechanisms
  16. Suspensions
  17. Tires
  18. Van and open-top trailer bodies
  19. Wheels
  20. Rims and hubs
  21. Windshield wipers
  22. Buses

Motorcoaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles

  1. Emergency exits
  2. Electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments
  3. Seating, and HM/DG requirements, as applicable.
  4. HM/DG required inspection items will only be inspected by certified HM/DG and cargo tank inspectors, as applicable.

It is contemplated that the walk-around driver/vehicle inspection will include only those items that can be inspected without physically getting under the vehicle.


Level III – Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection

As a minimum, Level III Inspections must include, where required and/or applicable:

  1. Examination of the driver’s license
  2. Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate
  3. Driver’s record of duty status
  4. Hours of service
  5. Seat belt
  6. Vehicle inspection report(s)
  7. Carrier identification and status

Level IV – Special Inspections

Inspections under this heading typically include a one-time examination of a particular item. These examinations are normally made in support of a study or to verify or refute a suspected trend.


Level V – Vehicle-Only Inspection

An inspection that includes each of the vehicle inspection items specified under the North American Standard Inspection (Level I), without a driver present, conducted at any location.


Level VI – North American Standard Inspection for Transuranic Waste and Highway Route Controlled Quantities (HRCQ) of Radioactive Material

An inspection for select radiological shipments, which include inspection procedures, enhancements to the North American Standard Level I Inspection, radiological requirements and the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria for Transuranic Waste and Highway Route Controlled Quantities of Radioactive material.

Previously, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) voluntarily complied with the North American Standard Level VI Inspection Program requirements.

Select radiological shipments include HRCQ of radioactive material as defined by Title 49 CFR 173.403. And, because only a small fraction of transuranics are HRCQ, the U.S. DOE decided to include its transuranic waste shipments in the North American Standard Level VI Inspection Program.


Level VII – Jurisdictional Mandated Commercial Vehicle Inspection

An inspection that is a jurisdictional mandated inspection program that does not meet the requirements of any other level of inspection.

An example will include inspection programs such as, but not limited to, school buses, limousines, taxis, shared-ride transportation, hotel courtesy shuttles and other intrastate/intra-provincial operations.

These inspections may be conducted by CVSA-certified inspectors, other designated government employees or jurisdiction-approved contractors. Inspector training requirements shall be determined by each jurisdiction. No CVSA decal shall be issued for a Level VII Inspection but a jurisdiction-specific decal may be applied.


Level VIII – North American Standard Electronic Inspection

The North American Standard Level VIII Electronic Inspection is an inspection conducted electronically or wirelessly while the vehicle is in motion without direct interaction with an enforcement officer.

An electronic inspection must include, where required and/or applicable, a descriptive location, including:

  1. GPS coordinates
  2. Electronic validation of who is operating the vehicle
  3. Appropriate driver’s license class and endorsement(s) for vehicle being operated
  4. License status
  5. Valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate
  6. Current driver’s record of duty status
  7. Hours-of-service compliance
  8. USDOT or (Canada) NSC number
  9. Power unit registration
  10. Operating authority
  11. Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) compliance
  12. Federal out-of-service orders

To be considered a complete Level VIII Electronic Inspection, a data exchange must include each of the required and/or applicable data points listed in the CVSA North American Standard Level VIII Electronic Inspection definition.