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The FMCSA is quietly working on making ‘in-motion roadside inspections’ happen

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Federal transportation authorities are currently at work on new technologies that will make it possible to conduct roadside inspections while the commercial vehicle is in motion without any direct contact with an inspector.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is currently developing and implementing the “Level VIII Inspection Program Operational Test,” the agency said in a Wednesday social media post.

Officials say that they’ll test Level VIII inspections, or “in-motion roadside inspections,” which would be conducted wirelessly as a semi truck is in motion “without direct interaction with a roadside inspector,” with the results entered into a motor carrier’s safety record. The in-motion inspection technology would also allow officers to identify higher risk carriers and to conduct conventional in-person inspections.

U.S. DOT says that the wireless inspection technology is necessary because of increased CMV traffic and a “finite number” of federal and state officers available to conduct inspections. Officials also point out that standard inspections delay truck drivers who may be transporting time-sensitive freight and that idling while waiting in a line for an inspection increases greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. DOT said in a May 24, 2023, notice that the FMCSA will conduct a multi-state operational test of Level VIII inspections to determine the feasibility and impact of “nationwide adoption” of the program. The test “will be a multi-year effort that will continue through at least May 2024,” authorities said.

In September 2022, the FMCSA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on a plan to require that every commercial vehicle used in interstate commerce should be equipped with electronic identification technology that can wirelessly communicate a unique ID number when queried by federal or state motor carrier safety personnel. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is expected later this year.

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