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What Does It Take To Be A Certified Inspector?

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What Does It Take To Be A Certified Inspector?

We get this question a lot.  By regulation, every Motor Carrier must cause every commercial motor vehicle under its control to be inspected and insure it can be operated safely.  For power units, this includes all commercial trucks with a 10,001 lbs or greater Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).

The term commercial motor vehicle also includes each vehicle in combination which means the trailing equipment like tractor semitrailers and full trailer combinations.  All must be inspected and be deemed safe to operate.

Within the regulations, there are several inspection processes required including the daily Driver Vehicle Inspection and regularly Scheduled Maintenance.  In addition, a motor carrier must not use a commercial motor vehicle unless it has passed a very specific and detailed inspection at least once during the preceding 12 months that is performed by a Certified Inspector.  This inspection is often referred to as the Annual Inspection and where the question of “what it takes to be a Certified Inspector” generally comes from.


Any size motor carrier may perform its own required annual inspections

Any size motor carrier may perform its own required annual inspections using its own Certified Inspector staff member.  Even an Owner Operator possessing the skills, tools, and experience may be a Certified Inspector.  Those without the certified staff will need to search out a commercial garage to perform the inspection as its agent, provided that the garage operates and maintains facilities appropriate for commercial vehicle inspections and it employs certified inspectors.

Here are the skills, tools and experience required to be a Certified Inspector:

  • Understand the inspection criteria in part 393 and appendix G of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and can identify defective components;
  • Is knowledgeable of and have mastered the methods, procedures, tools and equipment used when performing an inspection
  • Is capable of performing an inspection by reason of experience, training, or both as follows:
    • Successfully completed a Federal-or State-sponsored training program or have a certificate from a State that qualifies the individuals to perform commercial motor vehicle safety inspections, or
    • Have a combination of training or experience totaling at least 1 year. Such training or experience may consist of:
      • Participation in a commercial motor vehicle manufacturer-sponsored training program or similar commercial training program designed to train students in commercial motor vehicle operation and maintenance;
      • Experience as a mechanic or inspector in a motor carrier or intermodal equipment maintenance program;
      • Experience as a mechanic or inspector in commercial motor vehicle maintenance at a commercial garage, fleet leasing company, or similar facility; or
      • Experience as a commercial motor vehicle inspector for a State, Provincial or Federal government.


Who certifies someone as a Certified Inspector? 

So, who certifies someone as a Certified Inspector?  The employer does.  The employer must retain evidence of that individual’s qualifications.  Evidence can be from most any legitimate source including a written declaration by the employer detailing the employees experience and training.  Employers must retain this evidence for the period during which that individual is performing annual motor vehicle inspections and for one year thereafter.

Once certified by the employer as being qualified to perform annual inspections, what must the Certified Inspector include in each report?

The report must:

  • Identify the individual performing the inspection;
  • Identify the motor carrier operating the vehicle;
  • Identify the date of the inspection;
  • Identify the vehicle inspected;
  • Identifies the vehicle components inspected and describes the results of the inspection, including the identification of those components not meeting the minimum standards set forth in appendix G (click to read Appx G); and
  • Certifies the accuracy and completeness of the inspection as complying with all the requirements.

The original or a copy of the inspection report must be retained by the motor carrier for a period of fourteen months from the date of the inspection report. In addition, the original or a copy of the inspection report must be retained where the vehicle is either housed or maintained if different than the main office.

Documentation of the inspection must also be in or on each vehicle. This includes trailers.

The documentation may be:

  • The inspection report or
  • Other form of documentation (e.g., sticker or decal), which contains the following information:
  • The date of inspection;
  • Name and address of the motor carrier;
  • Information uniquely identifying the vehicle inspected; and
  • A certification that the vehicle has passed an inspection in accordance with §396.17.

Inspection, repair and maintenance are a critical component of commercial vehicle safety.  Compliant programs are critical to meeting the required regulations.

Glostone offers programs that can streamline the process and help insure compliance.  Give us a call for more details at 503.479.6082.

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06 Mar, 19

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