If you operate your truck with a GVW rating of 10,000 lbs. or more in California you need your truck inspected every 90 days.  This is what typically is referred to as a BIT inspection or 90 day inspection.  The California Highway Patrol will want to see your records for the inspections done by a mechanic when they audit you.  

What about a annual DOT inspection you might ask?  An annual DOT inspection is basically the same thing except the annual DOT inspection is only required every year and is a federal regulation.  In certain states their is no inspection guideline that the state mandates and instead they use the federal regulation that your commercial truck be inspection once a year.  However in California they require you have your commercial vehicle that is over 10,000 GVW be inspected every 90 days. 

What You Need to Know about California’s BIT Regulations

Effective January 1, 2016, major changes have taken affect to California’s Biennial Inspection of Terminal (BIT) program, now called the Basic Inspection of Terminals program. Designed as a performance-based truck terminal inspection system, motor carriers that demonstrate good safety behavior will benefit from less frequent inspections.

Complete List of Highlights:

 Every motor carrier in the state that did not have a U.S. DOT number has now been assigned one. Motor carriers can display either their CA number or U.S. DOT number or both on their vehicles.

 The assignment of the U.S. DOT number will allow the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to upload all vehicle, terminal, and carrier inspections conducted on a motor carrier into the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS). This system populates carrier information and safety data in what is termed the CSA – Compliance, Safety, Accountability SMS.

 CHP will utilize the safety data uploaded into FMCSA’s SMS to prioritize terminal inspections. This allows CHP the discretion not to inspect a terminal more often than one time every six years instead of once every 25 months. Clean roadside inspections and no crash history are important factors in whether CHP decides to schedule a terminal inspection – this turns the BIT program into a “performance based program” where on-highway behavior becomes the determinant in scheduling a terminal inspection.

 Significantly expands the number of motor carriers required to enroll in the BIT program. Any motor carrier operating a CMV (a CMV is defined as 10,001 pounds or greater) subject to regulation by the California Public Utilities Commission, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or the California Department of Motor Vehicles will need to be enrolled in BIT. Historically, most operators of trucks under 26,001 pounds were exempt from BIT.

 Fleets operating CMV’s in commercial use of 10,001 pounds GVWR or more not previously required to have 90-BIT inspections will need to comply with all inspection requirements.

 Currently, when a vehicle is leased to a motor carrier for a period of four months or less, the registered owner (lessor) is responsible for it under BIT, including presenting the vehicle for inspection, and all maintenance and maintenance records requirements. The new Basic Inspection of Terminals program will end that practice and the motor carrier (lessee) will be responsible on day one.

 CHP will no longer collect BIT fees. BIT fees will be paid to the California DMV at the time of obtaining a new, or renewing an existing, motor carrier permit (MCP). For motor carriers that possess a non-expiring MCP, they will no longer pay BIT fees since there is no annual renewal for a non-expiring MCP (as long as you keep current with paying annual Unified Carrier Registration fees).

 Also, there will no longer be a separate BIT application to complete for new carrier operations. You will be automatically enrolled in BIT during payment of your MCP fee. The BIT fee will be called a “Carrier Inspection Fee” or “CIT” on your MCP renewal form.