Roadside inspections are conducted to ensure that commercial trucks and truck drivers are complying with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and Hazardous Materials Regulations. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, roadside inspectors are facing undue burdens in performing their duties. The CVSA wrote a letter to the FMCSA about concerns that the number of exemptions handed out to drivers and trucking companies is complicating the roadside inspection process.
The FMCSA granted more than 20 exemptions for things like nonconforming equipment, hours-of-service deviations and other issues in 2015. Problems that would normally result in a driver or carrier being flagged are ignored if one of these exemptions applies. The greater the number of exemptions, the more complicated the inspection process becomes, according to the Executive Director of the CVSA. He also registered his concern that roadside inspectors might "stop enforcing regulations all together" based on the number of active exemptions.
The complexity of the regulations applied in the trucking industry has been a topic of concern for drivers and carriers in the past. Groups concerned with transportation safety insist that oversight is necessary to protect truckers and other drivers from irresponsible or abusive practices. Roadside inspections are one of the primary methods of ensuring that the industry complies with applicable safety measures. The CVSA believes that exemptions may "complicate the enforcement process, causing confusion and inconsistency in enforcement."
A spokesperson for the FMCSA responded by saying that the letter is currently being reviewed.
Sources: Overdrive, "CVSA to FMCSA: Scale back on hours and other exemptions," by Matt Cole 23 February 2016