does my truck require an inspection?

All interstate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) or combination vehicles with a GVWR in excess of 10,001 GVW and all intrastate vehicles or combination vehicles with a GVWR in excess of 26,001 GVW (in Florida, other states may vary) are required to have a periodic / annual DOT safety inspection. For combination units the power unit, dolly and trailer / semi-trailer are also required to be inspected.


Q: Some of a motor carrier’s vehicles are registered in a State with a mandated inspection program which has been determined to be as effective as the Federal periodic inspection program, but these vehicles are not used in that State. Is the motor carrier required to make sure the vehicles are inspected under that State’s program in order to meet the Federal periodic inspection requirements?

A: If the State requires all vehicles registered in the State to be inspected through its mandatory program, then the motor carrier must use the State program to satisfy the Federal requirements. If, however, the State inspection program includes an exception or exemption for vehicles which are registered in the State but domiciled outside of the State, then the motor carrier may meet the Federal requirements through a self-inspection, a third party inspection, or a periodic inspection performed in any State with a program that the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) determines is comparable to, or as effective as, the part 396 requirements.

Q: May the due date for the next inspection satisfy the requirements for the inspection date on the sticker or decal?

A: No. The rule requires that the date of the inspection be included on the report and sticker or decal. This date may consist of a month and a year.

Q: Must each vehicle in a combination carry separate periodic inspection documentation?

A: Yes, unless a single document clearly identifies all of the vehicles in the Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) combination.

Q: Does the sticker have to be located in a specific location on the vehicle?

A: No. The rule does not specify where the sticker, decal or other form of documentation must be located. It is the responsibility of the driver to produce the documentation when requested. Therefore, the driver must know the location of the sticker and ensure that all information on it is legible and current. The driver must also be able to produce the inspection report if that form of documentation is used.

Q: Is new equipment required to pass a periodic inspection under §396.17?

A: Yes, but a dealer who meets the inspection requirements may provide the documentation for the initial periodic inspection.

Q: Are the Federal periodic inspection requirements applicable to U.S. Government trailers operated by motor carriers engaged in interstate commerce?

A: Yes. The transportation is not performed by a governmental entity but by a for-hire carrier in interstate commerce.

: Does a CMV equipped with tires marked “Not for Highway Use” meet the periodic inspection requirements?

A: No. Appendix G to subchapter B—Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards, lists tires so labeled as a defect or deficiency which would prevent a vehicle from passing an inspection.

Q: Is a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) subject to a road side inspection by State or Federal inspectors if it displays a periodic inspection decal or other evidence of a periodic inspection being conducted in the past 12 months?

A: Yes. Evidence of a valid periodic inspection only precludes a citation for a violation of §396.17.

Q: Is a State required to accept the periodic inspection program of another State having a periodic inspection program meeting minimum Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) standards as contained in appendix G to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs)?

A: Yes. Section 210 of the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (MCSA) (49 U.S.C. 31142) establishes the principle that State inspections meeting federally approved criteria must be recognized by every other State.

Q: Do vehicles inspected under a periodic Canadian inspection program comply with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) periodic inspection standards?

A: Yes. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has determined that the inspection programs of all of the Canadian Provinces meet or exceed the Federal requirements for a periodic inspection program.

Q: Must a specific form be used to record the periodic inspection mandated by §396.17?

A: No. Section 396.21 does not designate any particular form, decal, or sticker, but does specify the information which must be shown on these documents.

Q: May an inspector certify a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) as meeting the periodic inspection standards of §396.17 if he/she cannot see all components required to be inspected under appendix G?

A: No. The affixing of a decal or sticker or preparation of a report as proof of inspection indicates compliance with all requirements of appendix G to part 396.

Q: If an inter modal container is attached to a chassis at the time of a periodic inspection, must the container also be inspected to comply with §396.17 inspection requirements?

A: Yes. Safe loading is one of the inspection areas covered under appendix G. If the chassis is loaded at the time of inspection, the method of securement of the container to the chassis must be included in the inspection. Although integral securement devices such as twist locks are not listed in appendix G, the operation of these devices must be included in the inspection without removal of the container.

Q: Is it acceptable for the proof of periodic inspection to be written in Spanish?

A: Yes. There is no requirement under §396.17, or appendix G to subchapter B that the proof of periodic inspection be written in English.