April 30, 2018

Why You May Actually Want More Inspections

It may seem counter-intuitive for a weigh station bypass provider like PrePass to suggest your fleet may actually need more inspections. However, your safety score depends on logging a number of violations-free inspections. The more “clean” inspections you have, the better your ISS score.

The Inspection Selection System score, or ISS score, helps enforcement prioritize which trucks should be pulled in for inspection. Your ISS score is thereby also a major factor in qualifying you to participate in electronic bypass. Naturally, a high ISS score — one that tells roadside enforcement to take a close look at a truck — is not a score that will support bypassing the inspection site.

How does enforcement choose which vehicles to inspect? Safety is the first priority, of course. In some cases, the condition of the vehicle might raise alarms, or perhaps the driver’s on-road behavior is cause for concern and the safest thing would be to bring the truck in for inspection. Second, enforcement may not have enough information on that vehicle or its parent fleet to form a complete CSA safety profile. The CSA acronym stands for “Compliance, Safety, Accountability,” a program overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Adminstration (FMCSA). A fleet’s ultimate CSA safety score requires a lot of data, and roadside inspections can collect data in five of the seven BASICs (“Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories”) which form your CSA safety profile.

So, you want data — good, “clean” data — in the government’s safety pipeline if you want to qualify, and remain qualified, for electronic bypass. If you had bad marks on past inspections, you will want newer, “clean” inspections to balance the record. If you have had limited or no inspections in the past, then you will have limited or no data in the system. The ISS will actually prioritize pulling in your trucks, to start building a more robust safety database on your operations. Either way, bad data or no data, you will want more inspections.

How does a fleet obtain more inspections? You can voluntarily request an inspection, if the enforcement folks have time. However, be certain your vehicle is in tip-top shape, because even in a voluntary situation, the inspection results will count. Another option is to ask a CMV inspector to visit your terminal and look at several of your trucks. Those results will not count toward your ISS score… but they can show you areas that could use improvements. For more ways to improve your score, see 4 Tips for Working with Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Agencies to Improve Safety and Bypass Rates.

True, there is some irony: you need inspections in order to bypass inspections in the future. Until you are better known, with good safety data, the Inspection Selection System will be calling on you.

–By Warren Hoemann