49 CFR 396: Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance

The driver of a commercial motor vehicle that carries more than 15 people, weighs over 10,000 pounds, or transports enough hazardous materials to require a placard, as well as all motor carriers, their officers, agents, representatives, and employees directly concerned with the inspection or maintenance of the motor vehicles are required to follow this part of the federal regulations.


If a motor vehicle is in poor condition and likely to breakdown or cause an accident, a driver is forbidden to operate it.


If a vehicle has been placed out of service a driver must not drive it until all of the needed repairs are completed.


All drivers of commercial motor vehicles must inspect their vehicle at the beginning and end of each day, and report any defects. The next driver of the vehicle is required to review the prior driver’s post-trip inspection report, and if the report shows anything likely to affect the safety of the vehicle, the driver must sign the report indicating that the employer certified the problems were fixed. If the employer has not certified this, the driver must not sign the report. At the end of each day of work when drivers complete and sign a written vehicle inspection report on each vehicle they operated on that particular day they must be sure to document their inspection of all brakes, the steering mechanism, all lighting devices and reflectors, tires, the horn, the windshield wipers, rear vision mirrors, coupling devices, wheels and rims, and all emergency equipment.


When the driver inspects his motor vehicle he must carefully review the last driver’s vehicle inspection report. If any defects on the vehicle were observed, the driver must sign the report only if the problems were corrected. A driver must always be completely confident that the motor vehicle he has inspected is in safe operating condition.

Click here to view the text of 49 CFR 396 in its entirety.

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