Who We Are
CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Our mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry and policy makers. CVSA member jurisdictions are represented by various Departments of Transportation, Public Utility and Service Commissions, State Police, Highway Patrols and Ministries of Transport. In addition, CVSA has several hundred associate members who are committed to helping the Alliance achieve its goals; uniformity, compatibility and reciprocity of commercial vehicle inspections, and enforcement activities throughout North America by individuals dedicated to highway safety and security.
CVSA began as an informal gathering of Western State Agencies that had the responsibility for conducting commercial vehicle enforcement functions. The first meetings of the founding agencies were held in 1980. These meetings highlighted areas of common need and discussed ways in which uniform standards, procedures and methods could be utilized to greatest effectiveness. Early on there was recognition that commercial vehicle highway safety was virtually the same in all the different states. At the same time, it was also recognized that the various states were in large part using common criteria for regulation and inspection functions but there was not a system giving reciprocal credit for each other's work. Thus, the states were involved in a redundancy of work effort — a redundancy that wasted government resources as well as causing equipment/personnel time and monetary loss for the motor carrier industry.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was developed to establish uniformity and reciprocity of on-highway enforcement and improve the safe operation of commercial vehicles. The MOU was a working agreement which outlined the various minimum inspections and out of service criteria which parties to the agreement would follow. Most importantly, the MOU established that various state and provincial agencies would not only be uniform but would recognize each others work in the inspecting of commercial vehicles, their drivers and cargo. Initially the MOU was adopted by seven states and two Canadian provinces in what was known as the Western States Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
Almost immediately, the agreement and concepts became successful. Virtually all of the agencies that initiated or modified significant programs to conform to the MOU had good results in the reduction of accidents caused by commercial motor vehicles. The worth of a shortened "critical item" inspection system which focused on the most common accident causes was established. Also of importance, the motor carrier industry and many other groups became very interested and supportive of the Alliance's accomplishments and methods. That interest led to significant interaction and involvement of the Alliance membership with industry, public safety organizations, and the Federal Department of Transportation. The Alliance soon became a forum for the discussion of ways to improve the safety of motor carrier operation (buses as well as trucks) through enhanced and improved methods of both highway and terminal inspection of vehicles, drivers and cargo.
By 1982, interest in the Alliance was high in Canada and the U.S. with many additional states across the country becoming members. Also many nongovernmental persons, associations, and companies wanted to play an active supportive role. To accommodate this expanding membership and associate interest, in October of 1982 the By-laws were ratified that created CVSA's bi-national scope and added provisions for associate membership. The new organizational structure set the framework for commercial vehicle uniformity and reciprocity in both countries. It clearly established a system for associate persons to participate in and contribute to the safety effectiveness of CVSA.