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What is a CVSA Decal and How Do I Get One?

What is a CVSA Decal/Sticker?

A CVSA decal is a sticker that is issued to commercial motor vehicles after successfully passing a Level 1 inspection or a Level 5 inspection. You can read more about inspection levels here. Passing a Level 6 inspection could also qualify a CMV to receive a special Level 6 decal. These brightly colored decals are affixed by an inspector on the lower right windshield of the truck or the lower right corner of the front of a trailer. Displaying this decal signals to inspectors that the CMV should not be subject to re-inspection. Some like to think of this decal as a “get out of inspection” free card. However, CVSA states that “nothing prevents re-inspection of a vehicle or combination of vehicles bearing valid CVSA decals.” Your likelihood of being subject to re-inspection decreases with a valid CVSA decal!

How Long Are They Valid For?

Once the decals are affixed to the vehicle, they remain valid for 90 days.

How Do I Get A CVSA Decal/Sticker?

As mentioned earlier, getting a CVSA decal means your CMV has “passed” a Level 1, Level 5, or Level 6 Inspection. Passing an inspection is defined as having no critical violations, according to the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria. It’s important to note that the CVSA decal/sticker only applies to the condition of the CMV, NOT the driver. This means that drivers are still subject to re-inspection by DOT officials. If a driver fails to pass inspection, it could mean an out-of-service for the driver, but a CVSA decal/sticker could still be applied to the CMV is the CMV passes inspection.

What are the differences between each decal color?

A CVSA sticker is brightly colored, and each color indicates the time of year that the inspection was performed. See below:

- Green – Decals issued in January, February or March

- Yellow – Decals issued in April, May or June

- Orange – Decals issued in July, August or September

- White – Decals issued in October, November or December

The number at the top of the decal/sticker is an indication of the year of issuance. For example, the “2” in the above photo indicates these stickers were issued in 2022. The number should always be the last number of the calendar year.

The special decal for passing a Level 6 inspection can be seen below.

A decal/sticker that has both upper corners removed indicates that it was issued in the first month of the corresponding quarter. Decals/stickers issued in the second month of the corresponding quarter will have the upper right corner removed and those issued in the last month of the corresponding quarter will have no corners removed.

Will my vehicle still be inspected if it received a CVSA decal?

Normally, vehicles with a valid CVSA decal will not be re-inspected during the three-month period that the decal is valid, unless a

  • critical vehicle inspection item violation or out-of-service condition is detected,

  • Level IV special inspection must be conducted, or

  • (luck of the draw) random inspection is used to validate an individual jurisdiction or regional out-of-service percentage.

If a critical vehicle inspection violation is discovered during the inspection, any existing or valid CVSA decal will be removed.

What are the critical vehicle inspection items?

Critical vehicle inspection items on a CMV that can result in being placed out of service include brake systems; cargo securement; coupling devices; driveline/driveshaft; exhaust systems; frames; fuel systems; lighting devices and flags; steering mechanisms; suspensions; tires, wheels, rims and hubs; and windshield wipers. Read more about inspections here.

Learn about DVIR here. Templates are available here.


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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. Contents may not be relied upon as a substitute for the FMCSA's published regulations. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.


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