When California drivers hit the road, they know they will likely encounter trucks. Most of the time, commercial motor vehicles need to pass an inspection in order for them to be on the road. If a CMV was not properly inspected, though, people may be more likely to get into a collision.
Just like private vehicles, trucks have to pass an inspection to demonstrate that everything is working properly. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a truck cannot be on the road if it has failed an inspection. While there are Federal guidelines for these examinations, sometimes States have their own list of requirements. Trucks on California highways typically need to pass the State requirements as well as the Federal ones. Most of the time, a truck needs to undergo inspection once a year.
If a carrier breaches DOT compliance requirements, the result may be written warnings, fines and penalties, suspension of a company's ability to operate and, in some cases, even jail time - depending on the severity of the violations.
While some people may think the State of California or the Department of Transportation sets an inspection schedule, this is not the case. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that each motor carrier can set its own schedule. This is because different types of trucks do not always need the same amount of maintenance and inspection. Federal law requires CMVs to have a systematic examination, which means that motor carrier companies schedule maintenance and inspections based on how much use a vehicle gets and which parts might wear out first.
Most of the time, a motor carrier can perform its own inspections. A company generally needs to examine any vehicle it has owned for at least a month. Additionally, the company usually needs to keep track of their own inspection records. They may keep them at the company's facility or at a different location. Regardless of where the company stores the records, the motor carrier usually needs to demonstrate that all of the vehicles on the road are in proper condition.