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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

Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance for Motor Carriers of Passengers - Part 396

General – § 396.3(a)

  • Every motor carrier shall systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles subject to its control.
  • Parts and accessories must be in safe and proper condition at all times.
  • Pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights must be inspected at least every 90 days.

Required Records – § 396.3(b)

For vehicles controlled for 30 consecutive days or more, except for a non-business private motor carrier of passengers (PMCP), the motor carrier shall maintain, or cause to be maintained, the following record for each vehicle:

  • An identification of the vehicle including company number (if so marked), make, serial number, year, and tire size. If the motor vehicle is not owned by the motor carrier of passengers, the record must identify the party providing or leasing the vehicle.
  • A means to show the nature and due date of the various inspection and maintenance operations to be performed.
  • A record of inspection, repairs, and maintenance showing their date and type.
  • A record of tests conducted on pushout windows, emergency doors, and emergency door marking lights on buses.

Unsafe Operations – § 396.7

Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must not be operated in such a condition as to likely cause an accident or a breakdown of the vehicle.

Roadside Inspection Reports – § 396.9

Any driver who receives a roadside inspection report must deliver it to his/her employing motor carrier. The motor carrier official must examine the roadside inspection report. Within 15 days after the inspection, the motor carrier must sign the report to certify that all violations have been corrected, and return it to the address indicated.

A copy must be retained on file by the motor carrier for 12 months from the date of the inspection.

Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports – § 396.11

  • Drivers are required to complete a daily written post-trip inspection report at the end of each driving day.
  • The inspection report must identify the vehicle and list any defects or deficiencies discovered by or reported to the driver, which could affect the safety of operation of the vehicle or result in a mechanical breakdown.
  • The motor carrier or its agent must certify that any listed defect or deficiency has been repaired or that immediate repair is unnecessary.
  • The motor carrier must maintain the original copy for 3 months.
  • Section 396.11 does not apply to a non-business PMCP or to a motor carrier operating only one vehicle.
  • Prior to requiring or permitting a driver to operate a vehicle, every motor carrier or its agent shall repair any defect or deficiency listed on the driver vehicle inspection report which would be likely to affect the safe operation of the vehicle.

Annual Inspection – §396.17

Every commercial vehicle, including each segment of a combination vehicle requires periodic inspection that must be performed at least once every 12 months. At a minimum, inspections must include all items enumerated in the Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards, Appendix G to Subchapter B of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Motor carriers may perform required annual inspection themselves. The original or a copy of the periodic inspection report must be retained by the motor carrier for 14 months from the report date.

Inspector Qualifications

  • Inspectors Must Understand Part 393 and Appendix G - Motor carriers must ensure that persons performing annual inspections are qualified. Inspectors must understand the inspection standards of Part 393 and Appendix G and be able to identify defective components, and have knowledge and proficiency in methods, procedures, and tools.
  • Brake inspector qualification - The motor carrier is responsible for ensuring that all inspections, maintenance, repairs, and service to brakes of commercial motor vehicles comply with these regulations. The carrier must ensure that the employees responsible for brake inspection, maintenance, service, or repairs meet minimum brake inspector qualifications.
  • Qualifying Brake Training or Experience - Qualifying brake training or experience includes successful completion of a State, Canadian province, Federal agency, or union training program, a State-approved training program, training that led to attainment of a State or Canadian Province qualifying certificate to perform assigned brake service or inspection tasks, including passage of CDL air brake test in the case of a brake inspection, or one year of brake-related training, experience, or combination of both.
  • Maintaining Evidence of Brake Inspector Qualifications - Motor carriers must maintain evidence of brake inspector qualification at the principal place of business or the location where the inspector works. Evidence must be retained for the period during which the brake inspector is employed in that capacity, and for one year thereafter.
Last updated: Friday, July 12, 2019