The CVSA/DOT will be performing their annual brake check inspections the week of September 16th.  Their primary focus will be to inspect commercial vehicles for brake issues but once they have you pulled over they can inspect anything.  Make sure you are properly inspecting your vehicle(s) at the beginning of every shift and at the end of every shift.  Actually check ALL of your safety items, mechanics, etc. to make sure your vehicle is compliant with FMCSA requirements, don’t pencil whip them.  A proper pre-trip inspection should take a minimum of 15 minutes each working day and the end of day inspection should take at least 5-7 minutes to perform.  If you are using paper logs or the Keep Truckin app that is set to 15 minute intervals, you can flag the end of day inspection and must list how many minutes it took (5-7 minutes).  Anything over 7 minutes would be rounded up to the nearest 15 minute increment.

 

If you have not checked your emergency brake in a while, you are already non-compliant.  That is a required item on the pre-trip list.  If you are pulling a trailer with electric brakes, you must hook up the battery properly, connect the breakaway cable to a fixed point on your truck (not to the chains or hitch), and test the breakaway system by pulling the cable each day to ensure the system is working properly.  To test this you must unplug the power cord from the truck prior to pulling the cable.  Make sure the battery is protected from the elements.  If it is placed on the outside of the trailer, it must be completely covered with a battery box and lid.

 

If your brakes are not working properly you can be placed out of service for as long as it takes to correct the issue.  Once placed out of service, you cannot move that vehicle until the item has been corrected.  Jumping an out of service order can result in huge fines.

 

Since you are checking your brakes, you might as well check the tire tread depth on your tires.  Steer tires (front) must have at least 4/32” of tread in two adjacent grooves.  Drive tires (rear) must have at least 2/32” of tread.  That is pretty bald and doesn’t leave you much traction.  If they are that low or close, get them changed out.

 

A popular right up is always lights.  Make sure that all lights are working.  Carry spares when possible.  Rear turn signals that are not working are a sure out of service.

 

Windshield cracks, major chips and tint and window tint on either side of the driver may not place you out of service but do have to be corrected within 15 days of the write up by an officer.  Avoid this by not adding window tint to your front side windows or windshield.  Get cracked windshields fixed before it spreads across into your vision.