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MCMIS Catalog and Documentation: Inspection File - Overview


The data displayed here is based off of a monthly snapshot and does not reflect real-time data. Therefore, this data information may differ from what is shown in other Agency connecting systems that are refreshed on a different schedule.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) responsible for monitoring and developing safety standards for commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce.

The FMCSA Inspection File contains data from State and Federal inspection actions involving Motor Carriers, Shippers of Hazardous Materials, and Transporters of Hazardous Materials operating in the U.S. The majority of the inspections were conducted at the roadside by State personnel under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP).

Federal and State field enforcement staff performs Inspections on Interstate and Intrastate Motor Carriers and Shippers and Transporters of Hazardous Materials. Violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations severe enough may result in a vehicle and/or driver being placed "out-of-service." The data collected from inspection activity is collected and stored in the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) Inspection Data Files.

Due to privacy restrictions, driver information is not included in any inspection files released to the public. Carrier information in the "carrier" table may not match the carrier information contained in the FMCSA Census file.


For the Inspection File, the user must understand the concept of normalization and must be familiar with using the database application they have available. It is assumed that users are familiar with importing a delimited flat file and setting up the structure following the record layouts.

Each of the 8 tables in the Inspection File has its own distinct layout. To relate the records between each table, each has a common and consistent field: a key. If the key from a record in one table matches the key from a record in another, the records are part of the inspection. In a relational database, a key can be assigned to each table and linked together by that key.


The two files available for download contain the publicly available inspection and violation data used for the current month’s SMS calculations. The inspection file contains identifying information for the inspection such as the U.S. DOT#, Report Number, Inspection Date, State, and Vehicle Information. It also includes information about the relationship of each inspection to SMS BASIC information, and violation counts by BASIC. The violation file contains details on each violation that was used in SMS calculations. This includes an identifier linking the violation to the inspection in which it was cited, the violation code, violation description, and information related to the SMS methodology. Each zip file contains a ‘flat’ comma delimited data file and a ‘Readme’ file that describes the data file.




information in the FMCSA Inspection File represents data that are reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration through the requirements of State and Federal programs. This file is dynamic and is constantly being updated. Therefore, the information on a copy of this file is only valid as of the date the copy is generated. 

A copy of the FMCSA Inspection File on CD-ROM can be obtained by contacting the following government contractor:

Department of Transportation
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Office of Registration and Safety Information, W65-206
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590
(800) 832-5660


Below is a sample of what a Tab Delimited file will look like.

87654321 12345678 AL US14725836 20020416. . .

Between each data element is a Tab, a specific non-printable character that the user's database software can detect. The data elements can be of varying lengths up to the length specified in the Record Layout section of this documentation. In some cases data fields may be empty, which will be indicated by two Tabs with no data between them. Using the proper Record Layout for each table (in this case, the Inspection Table), the fields can be read from left to right: Inspection ID, U.S. DOT Number, Report State (AL for Alabama), Report Number, Report Date (April 16, 2002), etc.


The information contained in the Inspection File represents all the useable data that has been reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration through the requirements of State and Federal programs.

NOTICE: This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its components or use thereof.

QUESTIONS: Inspection data in the Inspection File are sent to FMCSA by State and Federal enforcement agencies. Only those enforcement agencies can resolve concerns about missing or inaccurate inspection information. For the name of the proper contact person in each State or to resolve any other questions about the content of this file, call 1-800-832-5660 or contact us online.