Commercial Vehicle Inspections

Certain vehicles are considered "commercial vehicles" and must be inspected at a commercial inspection facility (see link for a list of locations). These vehicles must have a commercial brake tag.

Commercial inspections are performed by appointment only.

Definition of a Commercial Vehicle

A "commercial vehicle" is defined as any self-propelled or towed vehicle used on public roads and highways in commerce to transport passengers or property when:

  1. The vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight of 10,001 pounds or more;
  2. The vehicle is designed to transport more than ten passengers, including the driver

“In Commerce” refers to a vehicle that is owned, leased, or operated by a business, organization, or government entity* for the purpose of compensation, remuneration, employment, trade, or payment of anything of value.

*Vehicles displaying a public license plate that are owned or leased by a government entity may receive a brake tag marked for use on government vehicles.

Commercial Vans

Certain vans, when used for commercial purposes, are considered commercial vehicles because they are designed to transport more than ten passengers, including the driver. Vans meeting this criteria are considered commercial vehicles even if the seats have been removed. Below are examples of some of these vans.

  • Chevrolet Express van (2500 or 3500)
  • Dodge Promaster van (2500 or 3500)
  • Ford E Series van (E-250, E-350)
  • Ford Transit passenger van (250, 350, XL and XLT)
  • GMC Savana passenger van (2500 or 3500)
  • Mercedes Benz Sprinter van (1500, 2500 or 3500)
  • Nissan NV passenger van (2500 or 3500)

Inspection Criteria

In addition to the inspection points found in passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles will be checked for additional equipment, in accordance with LAC Title 55 and 49 CFR Part 393 (when applicable).

  • Driver's License - the driver of the vehicle must possess an appropriate driver's license for the vehicle type, under Louisiana RS 32:408:11:B
  • Fire extinguisher - must be properly filled and securely mounted in a readily-accessible location on the power unit of the vehicle
  • Bi-directional triangles - three bi-directional emergency reflective triangles that conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Safety Standard No. 125, 571.125
  • Braking systems - This includes all components of an air, hydraulic, or electric braking system, including secondary and emergency braking systems. Items to be checked include air brake chambers, pushrod, slack adjusters, brake lining or pads, brake drums, hosing or tubing, air pressure devices, air pressure warning devices, compressors, and braking cylinders.
  • Coupling devices - pintle hooks, fifth wheels, drawbar/towbar eye and tongue, saddle mounts, and chains/hooks
  • Exhaust system - leaks and exhaust pipe length
  • Fuel system - leaks, missing fuel tank cap, fuel tank not securely attached
  • Lighting and reflectors - front and rear clearance lamps, side marker lamps (front and rear),  three identification lamps, reflectors at each side (front and rear)
  • Steering system - steering column, front axle beam, steering gear box, pitman arm, power steering system, ball and socket joints, tie rods and drag links, nuts
  • Suspension - U-bolts, spring hangers, spring assembly; torque, radius, and tracking components
  • Frame - Frame member, tire and wheel clearance, adjusting axle assemblies
  • Tires - tread wear on front axle tires, all rear axle tires, tire type, retreaded or recapped tires, valve stem, tire condition
  • Wheels and rims - cracked or elongated bolt holes, broken or otherwise ineffective fasteners, cracks in welding
  • Mud flaps - must be present and in working order (for a vehicle originally equipped with mudflaps)
  • Emergency exits - emergency exits on buses will be checked for compliance with 49 CFR 393.62
  • Equipment items within the engine compartment must not be broken, defective, or improperly secured.

Trailer Inspection Criteria

Trailers and semi-trailers 80 inches or more in width (except boat trailers):

  1. On the front: two clearance lamps, one at each side;
  2. On the rear: two clearance lamps, one at each side, and all such vehicles manufactured or assembled after December 31, 1972, three identification lamps
  3. On each side: two side marker lamps and two reflectors one of each at or near the front and at or near the rear.

Trailers, semi-trailers 30 feet or more in length:

  1. One amber side marker lamp and one amber reflector, centrally located with respect to the length of the trailer, on each side.

Pole trailers 30 feet or more in length:

  1. One amber side marker lamp each side, at the rearmost support for the load
  2. One combination marker lamp showing amber to the front and red to the rear and side, mounted to indicate maximum width of the pole trailer.

Boat trailers 80 inches or more in width:

  1. On each side: two side marker lamps and two reflectors, one of each at or near the front and at or near the rear, and at or near the midpoint, one clearance lamp performing the function of both a front and rear clearance lamp;
  2. On the rear of boat trailers manufactured or assembled after December 31, 1972, shall be three identification lamps

School Buses

Definition: A school bus is defined as any vehicle utilized in the transport of preprimary, primary, or secondary students to or from school or related events.

School buses must meet additional inspection criteria and must receive a commercial brake tag. For a full list of inspected items, please go to LAC-Title-55-Commercial-Vehicle-and-School-Bus-Inspections.pdf.

Commercial Inspection Forms

Commercial vehicle inspections must be recorded on the Record of Annual Commercial Inspection  or Semiannual School Bus Inspection Report. A completed copy of this form must be kept in the vehicle at all times while the brake tag is current.

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