North American Standard Inspection Program

Approximately four-million commercial motor vehicle inspections are conducted every year throughout North America to ensure trucks and buses driving on the highways are operating safely. Specially-trained inspectors in each state, jurisdiction and province inspect vehicles based on inspection procedures and criteria created by CVSA. There are several levels of inspections ranging from the most comprehensive Level I inspection that evaluates both the driver and vehicle, to ones with a more specific area of focus (such as hazardous or radioactive materials). For more information on each of the NAS Inspection Levels, click on the link in the bar to the right.

Understanding the North American Standard Inspection Program Promotional Brochure The NAS Level I Inspection

The NAS Inspection examines all of the following: driver's license, medical examiner's certificate and waiver, alcohol and drugs (if applicable), driver's record of duty status (as required), hours of service, seat belt, vehicle inspection report, as well as the brake system, coupling devices, exhaust system, frame, fuel system, turn signals, brake lamps, tail lamps, head lamps, lamps on projecting loads, safe loading, steering mechanism, suspension, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels and rims, windshield wipers, emergency exits on buses and HM requirements, as applicable. The North American Standard Level I and Level V are the only inspections that may result in issuance of a CVSA decal. To qualify for a CVSA decal, a vehicle must not have any violations of the items contained in this operational policy and North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria.

Inspections must be performed by and CVSA decals affixed by North American Standard Level I and/or Level V certified inspectors. The term "certified" as used in this section means the government employee performing inspections and/or affixing CVSA decals must have first successfully completed a training program approved by the Alliance. CVSA decals, when affixed, shall remain valid for a period not to exceed three consecutive months. Vehicles displaying a valid CVSA decal generally will not be subject to re-inspection.

However, nothing shall prevent re-inspection of a vehicle or combination of vehicles bearing valid CVSA decals, under the conditions specified in the section titled, "Vehicle Re-Inspection."


North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria

The North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria (OOSC) are the pass-fail criteria for NAS Inspections. Their purpose are to identify those violations that are an imminent hazard and which, when discovered, render the driver, vehicle and/or cargo “out of service” until such time that the condition(s) or defect(s) can be corrected or fixed.  The OOSC change and are updated annually and generally are effective April 1 of each year.

To order a copy of the OOSC that went into effect April 1, 2016, go here.

To view the most recent set of changes to the OOSC, effective April 1, 2016, go here.


CVSA Decal  2011Vehicle Re-Inspections

Each vehicle (motorcoach, school bus, other bus, truck, truck tractor, semi-trailer, trailer, etc.) used singularly or in combination may qualify for a CVSA decal if it passes inspection, and a CVSA decal shall be applied. "Pass Inspection" means that during a North American Standard Level I or Level V Inspection no defects are found of the following critical vehicle inspection items: brake system; coupling devices; exhaust system; frame; fuel system; turn signals; brake lamps; tail lamps; head lamps; lamps on projecting loads; safe loading; steering mechanism; suspension; tires; van and open-top trailer bodies; wheels and rims; windshield wipers and emergency exits for buses. For the purpose of a CVSA decal issuance, if no violation is detected during a North American Standard Level I or Level V Inspection due to a hidden part of the listed critical vehicle inspection items, CVSA decal shall be applied. An inspector can still apply a CVSA decal even though his/her state does not allow for the inspection of gaseous fuel systems.

The CVSA decal criteria apply only to the condition of the vehicle, not the driver. It is possible for a driver to be out-of-service and still have vehicle(s) qualify for a CVSA decal.


Vehicle Re-Inspection

For the purposes of uniformity in the application of this section and maximum maintenance of the reciprocity standard, re-inspection of a vehicle bearing a current and valid CVSA decal is contemplated under the following circumstances:

  • A North American Commercial Vehicle Critical Safety Item or North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria violation is detected.
  • When a Level IV (Special Inspection) exercise is involved.
  • When a statistically based random inspection technique is being employed to validate an individual jurisdiction or regional North American Standard Out-of-Service percentage, or
  • When re-inspections are conducted to maintain CVSA inspection quality assurance.

CVSA Decals on Cargo Tanks

When a U.S. DOT/Transport Canada specification cargo tank inspection is completed in conjunction with North American Standard Level I and/or Level V Inspection CVSA decals shall not be issued to U.S. DOT/Transport Canada specification cargo tank vehicles found to have violations of the following:

  • Retest Requirements
  • Cargo Tank Authorization (Does not include specification shortages)
  • Manhole Covers
  • Internal Valves
  • Discharge Valves
  • Cargo Tank Integrity
  • Supports and Anchoring
  • Double Bulkhead Drains
  • Ring Stiffeners
  • Rear End Protection
  • Emergency Flow Control
  • Piping and Protection
  • Overturn Protection
  • Venting

Location of CVSA Decals

The location for affixing a CVSA decal on trailing units (i.e. trailers, full trailers, semi-trailers, converter dollies, etc.) shall be on the lower right corner as near the front as possible.

The location for a CVSA decal on a cargo tank semi-trailer shall be at eye-level near the right front of the cargo tank and on the lower right corner of the exterior surface of the passenger's windshield of a straight truck.

The location for a CVSA decal on passenger vehicles shall be on the glass portion (window) of the passenger door as close to inspector's eye-level as possible.

Any expired CVSA decal shall be removed before a new CVSA decal is affixed.

Application of CVSA Decals

The quarter in which an inspection is performed is indicated by the color of the decal issued.

Inspection Period Color Designation

January, February, March Green
April, May, June Yellow
July, August, September Orange
October, November, December White

The year of issuance shall be indicated by using the last number of the calendar year (i.e. 2011 shall be indicated by the number "1") and shall be printed at the top portion of the sticker as shown above, with the CVSA trademark printed directly below.

CVSA decals affixed on the first month of a new calendar quarter must have both upper corners removed. Those issued during the second month of the same quarter must have the upper right corner removed. No corners are removed from those CVSA decals issued during the last month of a calendar quarter.

CVSA decals, affixed, will remain valid for the month of issuance plus two months. For example, a CVSA decal issued on July 28 will expire September 30.

In general, vehicles displaying a valid CVSA decal are not subject to re-inspection. However, if an obvious defect is noticed on a vehicle with a current CVSA decal, nothing prevents a party from re-inspecting that vehicle.

Should re-inspection of a vehicle displaying a valid CVSA decal disclose vehicle maintenance inconsistent with the minimum inspection criteria, the CVSA decal must be removed. However, if the defects found are repaired at the scene, the CVSA decal does not have to be removed. In those instances where a complete re-inspection is performed and defects were absent or corrected at the scene, a new CVSA decal should be applied.