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MCMIS -Inspection File - Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

View Common Vehicle Configurations.

BUS: Any motor vehicle designed, constructed, and used for the commercial transportation of 15 or more passengers, including the driver.

CARRIER TYPE: "For-hire" or "Private."

COMMERCIAL VEHICLE: A motor vehicle, usually a truck or bus, which transports freight or passengers for compensation.

COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SAFETY ALLIANCE (CVSA): An organization of states and provinces in the United States, Canada, and Mexico dedicated to improving the uniformity of commercial motor vehicle safety enforcement.

DEFECT GROUP: The "group" to which a given violation is attributed. In this report, all violations identifiable during the driver-vehicle inspections are assigned to one of three mutually-exclusive groups: vehicle, driver, or hazardous materials.

DOUBLE: A commercial motor vehicle consisting of a truck-tractor and two detachable trailers.

DRIVER-ONLY INSPECTION: Examines only the driver-related aspects of the standard Full Inspection, including compliance with commercial drivers' licensing requirements, medical certifications and waivers, and the hours-of-service regulations. This inspection type is a Level III inspection.

DRIVER VIOLATION: A violation discovered during the inspection which pertains to the driver of the commercial vehicle.

DURATION: The amount of time required to complete a given inspection. It is calculated using the "start" and "finish" times recorded by the inspector on the inspection document.

FACILITY TYPE: The type of facility - fixed or roadside - where the inspection was conducted.

FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION (FMCSA): The administration within the U.S Department of Transportation (USDOT) responsible for monitoring and developing safety standards for commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce.

FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS (FMCSR): Regulations governing the safe operation of commercial vehicles engaged in interstate commerce. The FMCSR are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Subtitle B, Chapter III. States participating in MCSAP have adopted their own state-level versions of the FMCSR.

FIXED FACILITY: A state commercial vehicle "scale" facility or other permanent site used to conduct inspections.

FLEET SIZE: The total number of power units (truck-tractors and straight trucks) owned or operated by a given motor carrier.

FOR-HIRE CARRIER: A commercial motor carrier whose primary business activity is the transportation of property or passenger by motor vehicle for compensation.

FOR-HIRE CARRIER - AUTHORIZED: A for-hire carrier subject to economic regulation by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

FOR-HIRE CARRIER - EXEMPT: A for-hire carrier not subject to economic regulation by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

FULL INSPECTION: The most comprehensive and thorough of the inspection types, it involves extensive vehicle checks - including under-the-vehicle measurement of brake performance - and examination of hours-of-service logs. This inspection type is a Level I inspection; it is also sometimes referred to as the North American Standard (NAS).

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS: Materials, substances, or wastes, which, due to their compositional nature, may be toxic, harmful or fatal if accidentally exposed to humans, animals, or the environment.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REGULATIONS (HMR): Federal regulations governing the commercial transportation of hazardous materials. The HMR are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Subtitle B, Chapter I.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS VIOLATION: A violation discovered during the inspection which pertains to the transportation of hazardous materials.

INSPECTION: The systematic examination of a commercial motor vehicle and its driver to determine their overall safety fitness.

INSPECTION LEVEL: Refers to the inspection methodology employed in the examination of a given vehicle and driver. Five inspection levels are referenced in this report: Full, Walk-Around, Driver-Only, Special, and Terminal.

INTERSTATE CARRIER: A carrier who sometimes or always operates in interstate or foreign commerce. For the purposes of this report, "interstate carrier" is defined also to include carriers of hazardous materials who operate in interstate, foreign, or intrastate commerce.

MOTOR CARRIER INSPECTION DATABASE: A database on the USDOT mainframe computer containing records of inspections of interstate and intrastate carriers. State inspection records are uploaded to the mainframe using SAFETYNET.

INTRASTATE CARRIER: A carrier who operates solely in intrastate commerce and, for the purposes of this report, never transports hazardous materials.

LOCATION: The U.S. State or Territory, Canadian Province, or Mexican State in which a specific inspection was conducted.

MOBILE INSPECTION FACILITY: A non-permanent inspection facility. Mobile facilities can be moved from one location to another, as conditions warrant. Sometimes called a "roadside" facility.

MOTOR CARRIER CENSUS DATABASE: A database on the USDOT mainframe computer containing information identifying interstate and intrastate commercial carriers. A unique USDOT Number is assigned to each carrier in the database and is used to link records in the Inspection Database to the appropriate carriers in the Census Database.

MOTOR CARRIER MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM (MCMIS): The computerized system, operated by the FMCSA, containing comprehensive safety data on interstate and intrastate commercial carriers. Two parts of MCMIS are the Motor Carrier Inspection Database and the Motor Carrier Census Database.

MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MCSAP): A Federal program providing funds to U.S. states and territories for activities in support of commercial motor vehicle safety. To receive MCSAP funds, states must adopt interstate and intrastate regulations which are compatible with the FMCSR and the HMR. The FMCSA is the Federal agency responsible for administering MCSAP.

OUT-OF-SERVICE (OOS) VIOLATIONS: A violation of the FMCSR or HMR requiring that a commercial vehicle or driver be taken out of service or moved off the road until the circumstances which caused the violation have been resolved or corrected.

PRIVATE CARRIER: A commercial motor carrier for which private highway transportation activities are incidental to, and only in furtherance of, its primary business activity.

SAFETYNET: A state-based information system used to store and process commercial carrier safety information, including driver-vehicle inspection data. The use of SAFETYNET ensures that data electronically transferred to MCMIS are in a standard format and have successfully passed through a variety of edit checks.

SINGLE: A commercial motor vehicle consisting of a truck-tractor and a detachable trailer.

SPECIAL STUDY: Ad hoc examination of particular items, usually inspected in support of a particular study or verification/refutation of a specific trend. This inspection type is a Level IV inspection.

STRAIGHT TRUCK: A commercial motor vehicle in which the power unit and cargo box are non-detachable.

TERMINAL INSPECTION: Examination of vehicles at carriers' terminal facilities. Although the inspection methodology employed may vary, a Walk-Around technique is generally used. Terminal inspections normally focus only on the "vehicle" aspects of the inspection process. This inspection type is a Level V inspection.

TRIPLE: A commercial motor vehicle consisting of a truck-tractor and three detachable trailers.

TRUCK-TRACTOR: A self-propelled motor vehicle designed and primarily used to draw other vehicles.

USDOT NUMBER: An identification number assigned to all interstate commercial carriers regulated by the FMCSA. The number is used to track the safety records associated with a given carrier.

VEHICLE CONFIGURATION: Arrangement of the individual units - truck-tractors, trailers, etc. - comprising a commercial vehicle.

VEHICLE VIOLATION: A violation of the FMCSR or HRM.

WALK-AROUND INSPECTION: Follows most procedures of the Full Inspection, except those actions which can only be accomplished by climbing underneath the vehicle (e.g., to measure brake performance). This inspection type is a Level II inspection.

Common Vehicle Configurations

Bus image

Straight Truck image
Straight Truck

Tractor image.

Tractor-Trailer/Single Image

Double tractor trailer image

Triple tractor trailer image.