Channel 19

Todd Dills

‘We’re the highway patrol and we’re here to help’

| December 13, 2012

Coming into Tennessee up from Georgia on I-75 last month, expediter Don Lanier, whom regular readers will remember from prior reporting here and here, was pulled in for his third inspection since signing on with Nashville, Tenn.-based DMW Expedite just a few months ago. Talking about it with the officer, he asked if they “have a poster with my big ugly face on it or something,” he says. The officer “was a nice guy,” ultimately, as have been “all three DOT officers” he’s encountered recently.  He told Lanier on that particular day the officers were “just inspecting straight trucks. That’s how we picked” the DMW Freightliner M2 expediting unit (pictured) he drives, but other reasons for the recent rash of inspections Lanier has received could have all to do with his carrier’s CSA profile.

In his last gig, leased to a Michigan-based expediter for just more than a year, Lanier wasn’t inspected the entire time, he says. A quick comparison of the two carriers’ CSA data in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Measurement System online shows that the former carrier has enough information in the system to populate every BASIC (Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category), whereas his current carrier still lacks enough “relevant inspections” to register a number in the Driver Fitness BASIC. As I’ve reported before, a carrier with such insufficient data will be prioritized for optional inspection, just as will variety of carriers with alert levels in the BASICs, in the FMCSA’s Inspection Selection System, a number that weigh-station bypassing systems use in their determination of whether a truck gets the green light or not. It’s also a number that’s available to law enforcement to help in determining who to inspect (scores higher than 75, at least theoretically, deliver an “inspect” order to officers, 50-75 “optional,” 0-50 “no inspection”).

But as Lanier’s example illustrates, the ISS is no pull-in panacea at the scale house; it’s often more arbitrary and/or intuitive reasons — “We’re inspecting only straight trucks today” — that bring an operator or his truck in for a close look.

All the same, given what else Lanier had to say about this most recent interaction with an officer (no violations, fyi), a lot of our states’ enforcement personnel are happy to answer questions, if asked. This one, responding to CSA-related queries Lanier put to him, even printed out his carrier’s CSA profile for him to peruse down the road.

Next time you’re pulled in, ask the officer why he decided to do the inspection. The results could well tell you something. Tell us what you find here in the comments, or email me at tdills [at] I imagine many of you already do this fairly regularly, too. Thoughts?


  • tony

    mine told me that his buddy need another inspection on his tally for the week

  • Richard Wilson

    Don’t forget “contacts” the FMCSA sends out suggested levels of inspections to fill in shortages in data, ie. more Level 2’s or 3’s. For MCSAP funding a truck enforcement must make a set amount of contacts to maintain funding as well! They have to inspect and find violations in an amount that is consistent with current rates of OOS and non-OOS violations but can help in gathering DATA to be used to quantify current stats for “whatever reason” that happens to be the current target area or study by the FMCSA and or its partners.

  • Todd Dills

    Yes, sort of points to those arbitrary reasons, doesn’t it. See some of that in action myself. Where was this inspection, Tony?

  • Todd Dills

    The reason for the tallies Tony’s talking about here, eh? Inspect so many trucks and drivers or forfeit your federal government money.

  • Todd Dills

    For independent carriers, the ISS measurement is available via your login at the FMCSA’s Compass portal — if you don’t know what it is, logging in and checking it out may be helpful in explaining a rash of pull-in if you’re using a bypass system, particularly. Those running under their own authority or small fleets can do so via If you haven’t set up your account yet, links to places where you can are available here.

  • mad as hell!

    sue em for invasion of privacity, On the road, your truck is your home!!!!!!!

  • Oxim Serafim

    “any federal or state law enforcement officer has right to search commercial vehicle at any given time”…
    you signed it buddy with acceptance of your CDL…

  • Mike Jones

    they should have an immigation bus at every inspection weigh station yanking those brown turds off the hiways…then i might want to stop in for an inspection just to see them arresting illegals in 18 wheelers and there are PLENTY nationwide.

  • Don Lanier

    One thing they should give you a sticker thats placed on the Passenger side window and they can see youve recently been inspected, I was not given a sticker at any of these inspections, and when the third inspection was asked to be performed I told the officer I had two previous inspections within a 2 week period, Sort of a waste of valuable time on there part, although I realize why its done and cooperate fully with any Inspector, the sticker I believe would allow them to FIND the guy who NEEDS the inspections…again all three DOT personnel were very professional and thorough, answering questions and making small talk it was done quickly and a handshake and On the road….

  • Easton Ezx Xavier

    white turds are ok?

  • Easton Ezx Xavier

    its a shame they let monkeys like you out of your cage before you have completed your evolution

  • Mike Jones

    These CSA cops are AFRAID to get these illegal aliens OUT of these trucks…the courts are filled with cases involving one of these criminals with fake or stolen SS numbers and credentials involved in Truck wrecks….they take loads that WE should have and have ZERO authority to be in this country. The cops shake in their boots thinking the ACLU will make the cop lose his job for asking for REAL CREDENTIALS….they are making trucking a Haven for criminals of ALL do whatever they want…because the industry is a sickening JOKE.

  • Craig Leonard

    You invalidate any point you are making with your ignorant racisim

  • quickphil

    They should have put a CVSA sticker on which will ideally get you a pass thru ! If they didn’t give you one you should ask why , they do have to perform the full DOT to issue them but any time you are inspected and have no defects request CVSA sticker

  • Bryce Flippo

    If you all think that standard DOT inspections are bad deal with the border crossings and you will never bitch or complain about having a DOT inspection ever again. I had my whole bunk pulled out and everything underneath my bunk in the inspection lot at Sumas BC crossing because they found an orange in my lunchbox that I forgot I had…. and needless to say I had to put everything back together by myself.

  • Brian Doyle

    The inspector standing on the step with the door open is totally illegal, unless the driver allowed him to enter. If the driver did not allow him to enter the cab anything they write him up for will be thrown out in court because the inspector entered illegally

  • martymarsh

    From the governments end, you are guilty until they prove you innocent, which Is exactly what an inspection is about to begin with. Do you really want an honest system, when it comes to revenue agents you will never have it. There are plenty of ways to have a safe and honest system which would also take the corruption factor out of the hands of the revenue agents, but because this is about revenue and complete control you will never have anyone leaning in that direction. Just the mindset that you that you punish people for making some of these catastrophic mistakes, like having a break out of adjustment or you are over on your hours for the 27th, is way past absurd. You can not fine and harass people in to perfection, people are not perfect and never will be, which keeps the money wheel turning. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.