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Vehicle Inspection: Brakes, Lighting, Cargo – Check

Inspections, inspections and more inspections. June through August is inspection season, punctuated by Operation Driver Week last July, initiated by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).
Vehicle Inspection

Inspections, inspections and more inspections. June through August is vehicle inspection season, punctuated by Operation Driver Week last July, initiated by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). It’s that time of year when law enforcement is laser-focused on trucking safety. More specifically, the focus is on safe-driving awareness and risky driving from commercial and passenger vehicle drivers. 

Did You Know

  • An estimated 388,000 truck accidents are recorded annually in the US, making up about 6.5% of all reported vehicular collisions. 
  • In 2023, about 70% of all passenger vehicle fatalities involved a large truck.
  • Large trucks account for approximately 11% of all motor vehicle crash deaths, with about 75% of these fatal truck accidents involving a collision with another vehicle.
  • Tire defects and driver fatigue are the two most significant causes of truck accidents. 
  • In fatal truck accidents, 82% of victims were not the truck’s occupants. 

When you consider the numbers, inspection season is an easy decision. The value of vehicle inspections must be recognized and should be part of business as usual, year-round. With all the CVSA initiatives happening and yet to happen, drivers must go the extra mile on their pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspection.

CRST, one of the largest privately held transportation companies, couldn’t agree more. The following are truck driving hacks, a snapshot of the North American Standard Roadside Inspection Vehicle Cheat Sheet:


Check for missing, non-functioning, loose or cracked parts on the brake system.

Coupling Devices

Check service and emergency air lines for cracks, splices, or chaffing. Make sure that the electrical line has not been spliced or repaired. Make sure that lines do not drag on the tractor frame.   

Fuel and Exhaust Systems

Check your fuel tanks for loose mounting or loose or missing caps and signs of leakage.

Frame, Van and Open—Top Trailers

Check for corrosion, cracked, loose or missing cross members; cracks in the frame; missing or defective parts. Make sure there are no open bolt holes or missing rivets.


Inspect all required lamps for proper color, operation, mounting and visibility. 

Securement of Cargo

Make sure cargo is secured sufficiently to prevent movement (forward, backward, and side-to-side). Ensure all tie downs are within their weight rating and are not cut or frayed.


Check steering wheel for slack. Free-play should be more than 2” on a 20” wheel. Also check the condition of steering components. Things like the steering shaft, pitman arm, drag links, steering arms, and tie rods should all be checked to confirm they ae properly mounted and secured with all fasteners in place.


Inspect for indications of misaligned, shifted, cracked or missing springs, loose shackles, missing bolts, unsecured spring hangers, and cracked or loose U-bolts. 

Tires, Wheels, Rims and Hubs

Check tires for proper inflation, cuts and bulges, regrooved tires on the steering axle, tread wear and major tread groove depth. Inspect sidewalls for improper repairs, exposed fabric or cord, contact with any part of the vehicle, and tire markings excluding it from use on a steering axle. 

Inspect wheels and rims for cracks, unseated locking rings, and broken or missing lugs, studs or clamps.

Check for cracked or bent rims, loose or damaged lug nuts and elongated stud holes, cracks across spokes or in the web area, and evidence of slippage in the clamp areas. Check the hubs for lubricant leaks, missing caps or plugs, misalignment and positioning, and damaged, worn or missing parts. 

CRST makes trucking safety a priority. We look out for one another, ensuring we make it home safely to our most important people (and pets). 

Learn more about CRST and our I AM SAFETY program.