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Inspection Levels Explained


Over 4 million commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inspections are conducted annually in North America. We all know what an inspection is (some of us know this better than others). But…do you know what’s actually involved in the each of the seven different inspection levels? Find out!

The North American Standard Inspection Program
Inspection_3.jpgInspections are conducted as part of the North American Standard (NAS) Inspection Program. The criteria for these inspections were developed by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) to help ensure trucks and buses are operating safely on our roads. Inspections can be performed by trained and certified state, provincial, territorial, and federal law enforcement personnel only.

7 Levels of Inspection Explained
There are seven different levels of the NAS Inspection Program. Each level has a slightly different focus ranging from driver, vehicle, and goods. The most common inspections that you should be aware of are Level I, II, III, and IV Inspections.

Level I – North American Standard Inspection
Inspection_4.jpgThis is the most comprehensive of the seven inspection levels. It is also the most common inspection that’s performed. This inspection looks at the driver and vehicle in detail including:

  • Driver: Alcohol consumption, drug use, and seat belt use 
  • Paperwork: License, medical examiner’s certificate, Skilled Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate (if applicable), record of duty status, hours of service, vehicle inspection report(s)
  • Vehicle: Braking system, coupling device, exhaust system, frame, fuel system, lighting (headlights, tail lights, signals, etc.), securement of load, body, steering mechanism, suspension, tires, wheels, rims, hubs, windshield wipers, emergency exits, cables, battery compartments (buses), and HM/DG (inspected by certified HM/DG inspectors)

Level II – Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection
A Level II Inspection includes examining all of the elements of a Level I Inspection that do not require the inspector to physically get under the vehicle.

Level III – Driver/Credential Inspection
Inspection_1-1.jpgA Level III Inspection is another fairly common inspection that reviews the driver and their credentials. The vehicle is not inspected during a Level III. Level III inspection criteria includes:

  • Driver: Alcohol consumption, drug use, and seat
    belt use
  • Paperwork: License, medical examiner’s certificate, Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate, record of duty status, hours of service, vehicle inspection report, HM/DG requirements

Level IV – Special Inspections

Level IV Inspections are normally conducted to study, verify, or confirm a suspected trend. These inspections typically focus on only one element.

Level V – Vehicle-Only Inspection
A Level V Inspection is a little less common. This inspection focuses on the vehicle-only and looks at elements from the Level I Inspection. The driver is not present for this inspection and it can be conducted at any location.

Inspection_2-1.jpgLevel VI – North American Standard Inspection for Transuranic Waste and Highway Route Controlled Quantities (HRCQ) of Radioactive Material
Level VI Inspections
are conducted on select radiological shipments. The inspector conducts a Level I Inspection first and then ensures that radiological requirements and North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria for transuranic waste and highway route controlled quantities (HCQ) of radioactive material are being followed.

Level VII – Jurisdictional Mandated Commercial Vehicle Inspection
Level VII Inspections
are inspection programs that are required by a specific jurisdiction. They do not meet the requirements for any other level of inspection. Some common Level VII inspections programs include school buses, limos, taxis, etc.

How BigRoad Can Help
BigRoad makes passing even the toughest roadside inspections a breeze! Put your drivers back in control and give them the confidence that they need to pass their inspections. Start your free 30-day trial and see why over 30,000 fleets trust us as their compliance partner.