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  • § 396.3
    Inspection, repair, and maintenance.
  • § 396.9
    Inspection of motor vehicles and intermodal equipment in operation.
  • § 396.11
    Driver vehicle inspection report(s).
  • § 396.13
    Driver inspection.
  • § 396.17
    Periodic inspection.
  • § 396.19
    Inspector qualifications.
  • § 396.21
    Periodic inspection recordkeeping requirements.
  • § 396.23
    Equivalent to periodic inspection.
  • § 396.25
    Qualifications of brake inspectors.

Part 396

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View the regulations for Part 396

Guidance for § 396.3: Inspection, repair, and maintenance.

Question 1: What is meant by "systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance"?

Guidance: Generally, systematic means a regular or scheduled program to keep vehicles in a safe operating condition. §396.3 does not specify inspection, maintenance, or repair intervals because such intervals are fleet specific and, in some instances, vehicle specific. The inspection, repair, and maintenance intervals are to be determined by the motor carrier. The requirements of §396.11, 396.13, and 396.17 are in addition to the systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance required by §396.3.

Question 2: 396.3(b)(4) refers to a record of tests. What tests are required of push-out windows and emergency door lamps on buses?

Guidance: Generally, inspection of a push-out window would require pushing out the window. However, if the window may be destroyed by pushing out to test its proper functioning, a visual inspection may qualify as a test if the inspector can ascertain the proper functioning of the window without opening it. Checking to ensure that the rubber push-out molding is properly in place and has not deteriorated and that any handles or marking instructions have not been tampered with would meet the test requirement. Inspection of emergency door marking lights would require opening the door to test the lights.

Question 3: Who has the responsibility of inspecting and maintaining leased vehicles and their maintenance records?

Guidance: The motor carrier must either inspect, repair, maintain, and keep suitable records for all vehicles subject to its control for30 consecutive days or more, or cause another party to perform such activities. The motor carrier is solely responsible for ensuring that the vehicles under its control are in safe operating condition and that defects have been corrected.

Question 4: Is computerized recordkeeping of CMV inspection and maintenance information permissible under §396.3 of the FMCSRs?

Guidance: Yes, if the minimum inspection, repair, and maintenance records required are included in the computer information system and can be reproduced on demand.

Question 5: Where must vehicle inspection and maintenance records be retained if a vehicle is not housed or maintained at a single location?

Guidance: The motor carrier may retain the records at a location of its choice. If the vehicle maintenance records are retained at a location apart from the vehicle, the motor carrier is not relieved of its responsibility for ensuring that the records are current and factual. In all cases, however, upon request of the FHWA the maintenance records must be made available within a reasonable period of time (2 working days).

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