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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Operational Test of In-Motion CMV Inspections (Level VIII Inspections)

Project Goal:

As part of its commitment to explore innovative ways to improve roadway safety, FMCSA is researching the feasibility and potential benefits of in-motion electronic commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inspections, referred to as Level VIII Inspections. Through a proof-of-concept operational test, FMCSA will test the technical feasibility of Level VIII Inspections; measure their safety, efficiency, and environmental impacts; evaluate use cases and implementation options; and determine the feasibility of nationwide adoption.

Background:

In 2017, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) developed criteria for a new type of inspection, the Level VIII Electronic Inspection, as a way to improve safety and efficiency by enabling enforcement officials to check for Federal safety regulation compliance wirelessly, while CMVs are traveling at roadway speeds and without direct interaction with a safety official.

If implemented nationwide, Level VIII Inspections have the potential to:

  • IMPROVE SAFETY – electronic inspections would allow FMCSA to collect more data on more carriers and enable enforcement to focus resources on higher-risk carriers.
  • INCREASE INSPECTION EFFICIENCY – Level VIII Inspections do not require the vehicle to stop, saving time for both enforcement personnel and motor carriers.
  • ADDRESS THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE – since electronic inspections happen while the vehicle is in motion, they avoid generating emissions from vehicle acceleration, deceleration, and idling, which happen when a vehicle stops for a conventional inspection.

Until now, the technology required to implement Level VIII Inspections has not been developed or tested, though technology providers have made significant progress in electronically collecting and transferring motor carrier and vehicle data in real time. FMCSA is exploring whether electronic inspections are technically feasible and how the concept could be leveraged to help improve safety.

Image of truck demonstrating Level VIII Inspection

Level VIII Concept:

As envisioned, Level VIII Inspections would check records indicating whether the driver and the motor carrier are in compliance with safety regulations. As currently conceptualized, the inspections would be completed as follows:

  • Data would be collected wirelessly while the CMV is traveling at roadway speeds. This data then would be validated electronically against data in FMCSA systems to determine the driver’s or carrier’s compliance with FMCSA’s safety regulations. 
  • If significant issues were identified through the electronic validation process, the driver would be directed to pull into an inspection station for a safety official to conduct an inspection.
  • All other vehicles would bypass the inspection point, but unlike current bypass programs, bypassed vehicles would be considered inspected, and the results of the Level VIII Inspection would be recorded as part of the motor carrier’s or driver’s safety record.

This is a working concept and may be adjusted as FMCSA learns more during the operational test.

Operational Test:

In collaboration with CVSA, FMCSA is researching the feasibility and potential benefits of Level VIII Inspections by carrying out an operational test.

Preparation for the operational test began in 2023. The test will be carried out in phases starting in 2024. The first phase is a proof-of-concept to test the technology and evaluate the integrity and usefulness of the data. Future phases will be tailored based on the outcomes of earlier phases and will answer further questions about how Level VIII Inspections could be used and what impact they could have on safety, supply chains, and the environment.

The operational test will help FMCSA decide whether to move forward with implementing Level VIII Inspections and, if so, how they will be used alongside current motor carrier safety monitoring tools.

Participation in the operational test is voluntary and limited to nine carriers in the initial phase. Data collected during early phases of the operational test will be used for analysis purposes only and will not be used to make bypass decisions nor will it affect a motor carrier’s or driver’s safety record.

Status Update:

Initial on-road testing began in March 2024, starting in Mississippi and Kentucky and using a limited subset of data.

Phase 1 of the test will proceed incrementally, including more data elements and involving more motor carriers, States, and technology providers as they complete setup. The test data will be used for analytical purposes only, and the outcomes will inform decisions on whether to continue exploring the Level VIII concept.


Current Participation Statistics

States

2

Motor Carriers

2

Level VIII Data Currently Being Collected:

Descriptive location, including GPS coordinates

USDOT Number

Power Unit (PU) registration

Operating authority

Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) compliance

FMCSA Out-of-Service Orders

Electronic validation of who is operating the vehicle

Appropriate driver’s license class and endorsement(s) for vehicle being operated

License status

Valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate

Current driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS)

Hours-of-service (HOS) compliance


Learn More:

Carriers, States, and technology providers who are interested in participating should contact CVSA at cvsahq@cvsa.org.

Please send questions or feedback about this project to FMCSALevel8@dot.gov.

Contractor:

U.S. DOT Volpe Center