Have You Adjusted to the New California BIT Inspection Program?


At the beginning of 2016, California State Assembly Bill 529 (Lowenthal 10/3/2013) went into effect. This legislation altered the previous “Biennial Inspection of Terminals” regulation in some significant ways. For one, it’s no longer strictly a “biennial” requirement (they conveniently renamed it the “Basic Inspection of Terminals” to keep the same acronym).

For more details about the changes to the program, check out this presentation on the CHP website or read the legislation text directly. A few of the key points to notice include:

  • Inspections are no longer technically “Biennial.” CHP may inspect any terminal at any time it chooses. Terminals receiving “satisfactory” ratings may not be inspected again for up to six years. Meanwhile, a terminal that receives an “unsatisfactory” rating must be re-inspected by CHP within 120 days.
  • Fees are now paid annually to the California DMV instead of CHP.
  • Even if you lease your trucks, your organization is responsible for BIT inspections and record keeping (operators with short-term leases on their vehicles could rely on the vehicle owners for this in the past).

As before, it is still critical that you maintain records about your trucks including inspections performed, hours of service, and driver logbooks.

When your site is inspected by CHP, you won’t necessarily need to produce all of your records. They will be looking for a “representative sample” based upon the size of your fleet of trucks and tractors (trailers not included in the count):

Fleet Size     Representative Sample
1 or 2                    All
3 to 8                      3
9 to 15                    4
16 to 25                  6
26 to 50                  9
51 to 90                14
91 or more           20

Note that CHP may request hours-of-service and driver logbook records about any truck that is regulated by the DMV, PUC, or the US DOT (even if it isn’t otherwise affected by the legislation based upon gross weight or number of axles). So your record keeping should go beyond just the ones that are subject to the rest of the regulation.

Here are some details about record keeping straight from the law:

  • “Driver records” includes pull notice system records, driver proficiency records, and driver timekeeping records.
  • “Maintenance records” includes all required maintenance, lubrication, and repair records and drivers’ daily vehicle condition reports.

The maintenance record requirement applies to vehicles with a 10,000 lb. gross rating and 3 or more axles or a gross weight of over 26,000 lbs. (again, check the CHP site or the legislation directly for specific wording). This category of vehicle must be inspected by an authorized service center every 90 days.

This all may seem like a big hassle, but, by simply maintaining your vehicles to keep your trucks and your drivers safe, you’ll easily stay on CHP’s “satisfactory” list.

If you’re not sure how to remain compliant with this law or are looking for a more convenient way to keep your trucks maintained, give us a call. We are authorized to perform both BIT and California Air Resources Board vehicle inspections and our factory-trained technicians really know their way around trucks and truck engines. The reports we provide our clients include maintenance information needed to satisfy BIT inspection and our proprietary software will remind us (and you) about which vehicles are due.

Regardless of how you go about doing it, keeping on top of your vehicles’ maintenance requirements will pay off in the long run. We are available to make that task easier and would be delighted help.

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